Dubai welcomed 7.28 million international overnight visitors between January and December 2021, representing 32 per cent year-over-year growth (YoY), establishing a momentous marker in the global tourism recovery, and setting the city firmly on course to achieve sustainable growth on its way to becoming the world’s most visited destination.
According to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) international visitation to the city surpassed 3.4 million visitors in the fourth quarter of 2021, achieving 74 per cent of the total pre-pandemic tourist arrivals of Q4 2019, and paving the way for hotels in Dubai to deliver a stellar fourth quarter performance that surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
A positive trend which is expected to continue throughout 2022 and beyond, the 2021 visitation figures underline the resilience and resurgence of the city’s travel and tourism sector and reaffirm the role of tourism as a key driver of economic growth, while further validating Dubai’s recent selection as the world’s most popular destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2022.
Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, commented: “Under the visionary leadership and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, our ability and agility in achieving a remarkable turnaround amid continuing global challenges has cemented Dubai’s position as the destination of choice for international travellers. The outstanding performance also advances our journey towards becoming the most visited destination and the world’s best city to live and work in. In leading the global tourism recovery with the support of our stakeholders and partners, Dubai constantly set precedents, demonstrating how to safely yet effectively open up to international visitors and, critically, stay open. Dubai’s well-coordinated, consistent, proactive and creative approach enabled it to lay the groundwork for an accelerated recovery that received a major boost with the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai and the UAE Golden Jubilee celebrations.
“Dubai’s success in 2021 is testament to the carefully calibrated strategy and decisive measures that were put in place at the outset to counter and manage the pandemic across all sectors including trade and tourism. By meticulously following the highest standards of hygiene and safety, supported by diligence and cooperation from all stakeholders, Dubai has been able to reinforce the trust that UAE residents and global travellers place in the city as one of the safest in the world, allowing them to enjoy the diversity of the destination offering within a relaxed environment. As we move forward throughout 2022, we are confident that the significant momentum now gathered will accelerate even further to continue to attract not just tourists but also investors, entrepreneurs and innovators to Dubai, enabling them to enjoy and avail themselves of all that our multi-faceted city has to offer,” Al Marri added.
Overcoming the impact of international travel restrictions in key global markets, Dubai continued to be the first-choice as a safe tourism destination, attracting holidaymakers throughout 2021 from markets that were open. Dubai strongholds regained momentum to register positive growth during 2021, with No.1 source market India delivering 910,000 visitors (5.3 per cent YoY), followed by 491,000 travellers from Saudi Arabia (+22.8 per cent YoY) whilst Russia and United Kingdom contributed 444,000 visitors (+50.3 per cent YoY) and 420,000 visitors (+7.1 per cent YoY) respectively.