Sheikh Hamdan says Dubai to lead the world in tourism, as new figures show boost

More than 14 million international visitors travelled to the city last year

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed spoke of the 'exceptional growth in the inflow of visitors' to Dubai. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
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Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said the city wants to "lead the world" in tourism and hospitality, as new figures showed it came close to hitting pre-pandemic visitor figures last year.

Dubai recorded 14.36 million international visitors in 2022, the government said on Sunday. That compares to 16.73 million in 2019.

“The exceptional growth in the inflow of visitors reflects Dubai’s continued rise as one of the world’s most-connected cities and its determination to lead the world in hospitality infrastructure and service levels," said Sheikh Hamdan, also chairman of the Executive Council.

"The high growth shows the world that we never rest on our achievements and constantly work to raise our benchmarks.

"I am confident that Dubai will be an even greater catalyst for the growth of global tourism and travel connectivity in the years ahead."

Although some of the world's strongest tourist destinations have recovered well, global tourist travel last year was still 37 per cent lower than in 2019, UN figures show.

The city models itself as a "first-choice safe travel destination", with shopping, nightlife, luxury and desert adventure all thrown into the mix.

A news release from the Department of Economy and Tourism on Sunday said Western Europeans and Gulf visitors accounted for 21 per cent of arrivals last year.

South Asia accounted for 17 per cent, while Middle East travellers from outside the Gulf contributed 12 per cent.

The Americas accounted for 7 per cent, with the rest of Asia and Africa at 5 per cent, and Australasia at 2 per cent.

Helal Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, reiterated a government plan set out by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to put the city in the three most-visited in the world. That would rival long-established cities such as Paris, New York and Bangkok.

With the reopening of China after three years of Covid-related restrictions, visitor numbers from that key market are expected to grow significantly, experts told The National last week.

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Updated: February 06, 2023, 4:12 AM