As many as four cities in the GCC region figure in the list of top 10 cities across the world which benefited from international tourism in 2022.
Noted economist from John Hopkins University Dr Steve Hanke released the list based on the data from World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) on Saturday.
While Dubai occupied first position by generating $29.4 billion in revenue from international tourism, it was followed by Doha in Qatar, which earned $16.79 billion, as it hosted 2022FIFA World Cup. London, the capital of the UK, secured the third position as it realised $16.07 billion in revenue and the holy city of Mecca was ranked fourth with revenues totalling $15.58 billion.
In a tweet on Saturday, Dr Hanke said: “Throughout 2022, the global travel industry recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the following ten cities emerged as the top beneficiaries of the post-pandemic international tourism wave.”
Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Istanbul in Turkey, Barcelona in Spain, New York City in the US, Singapore, and Paris occupied the fifth to tenth positions respectively.
As many as 14.36 million overnight visitors thronged Dubai in 2022, with the highest number of tourists – 1.8 million – from India, growing 97% YoY from the 7.28 million tourist arrivals in 2021, according to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
The growth, which enabled the emirate to surpass global and regional tourism recovery levels, contributed to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three cities for travel and business.
By closing in on its pre-pandemic visitation of 16.73 million in 2019, Dubai’s 2022 tourism performance further validated its ranking as the No.1 global destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023 for the second successive year, only the second city in history to achieve the feat.
Even the data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) shows that global tourist travel in 2022 was 37% lower than 2019. The Middle East saw the strongest relative increase, with arrivals climbing to 83% of pre-pandemic numbers. Dubai exceeded both global and regional barometers of recovery with visitors to the city in 2022 reaching 86% of pre-pandemic levels.
The strong performance in 2022 features some noteworthy spikes in Dubai’s traditional key markets and strong growth across emerging markets. Dubai remained a first-choice safe travel destination for visitors from the city’s stronghold markets.
From a regional perspective, Western Europe and GCC regions each accounted for a 21% share of arrivals. The GCC region in particular saw an exponential increase in their share of arrivals from 13% in 2021 to 21% last year.
New Landmarks Spur Growth
In 2022, several new attractions and initiatives were launched as part of the ever-evolving destination proposition. These include the unveiling of the Museum of the Future, Dubai’s new iconic landmark that offers a gateway to a future world. Dubai also unveiled Expo City, the dynamic legacy of Expo 2020, an innovation-driven, human centric vision of the future, and Atlantis The Royal, a mega resort located on Palm Jumeirah.
With the implementation of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, which aims to expand the emirate’s tourism offering by over 100%, Dubai is on track to achieve its vision of becoming the city of the future. Moreover, Dubai will launch new initiatives aligned with the UAE 2031 Tourism Strategy, which seeks to attract 40 million guests by 2031 and increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the Emirate’s GDP to $122.54 billion.