Large-scale vaccination of the people coupled with Expo 2020 Dubai and other decisions has attracted 7.28 million tourists to the city in 2021, registering a 32% year-on-year growth.
The total number of tourist arrivals, both from within the region as well as across the world, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Trade (DET) showed international visitation to the city crossed 3.4 million in Q4 of 2021, achieving 74% of the total pre-pandemic tourist arrivals in Q4 of 2019.
India reigned as the top source market with 910,000 visitors, marking a 5.3% year-on-year growth, followed by 491,000 travellers from Saudi Arabia (22.8% increase) while Russia and the United Kingdom contributed 444,000 visitors (50.3%) and 420,000 visitors (7.1%) respectively.
One out of the four international visitors was from the MENA and GCC markets collectively and they were followed by Western Europe which accounted for 22% of total visitors. These tourists were from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands during the year.
South Asia contributed 18% of the international visitation with Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe together making a 15% contribution.
Hotel Business Thrive
Hotel occupancy in Q4 of 2021 stood at over 81.4%, compared to 80.7% during Q4 of 2019. Overall, average occupancy levels reached 67% in 2021 compared to 54% recorded during the previous year. In fact, the demand for hotel room equalled combined hotel room demand of London, Paris and Oslo.
By the end of 2021, Dubai’s visitors and residents could choose from a total of 755 hotel establishments and 137,950 rooms, compared to 711 hotels establishments that were open with 126,947 rooms at the end of 2020.
Guests also spent longer in hotels across the Emirate last year, with average length of stay reaching 4.6 nights (up from 4.2 nights in 2020), while the total of 31.47 million occupied room nights represented 53.7% growth compared to 2020, and approximately 98% of the occupied room nights of 2019.
DET’s Director General Helal Saeed Al Marri, said: “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.”
He further said: “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.”
Expo 2020 Entices
The emirate is currently hosting Expo 2020 Dubai, which recorded around 11.6 million visits in the last four months.
Each of the 192 country pavilions – spread across three main districts of sustainability, mobility and opportunity – will have the chance to showcase their innovations and strategies. The exhibition, which will run until March 31, 2022, is the very first world expo where every participating country has its own pavilion.
The Emirate also introduced a number of new attractions and leisure destinations in 2021, such as Ain Dubai, Deep Dive Dubai, Hatta Dome Park and The View at The Palm.
Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing CEO Issam Kazim said: “In showcasing Dubai as a must-visit destination to an international audience and maintaining momentum, we have leveraged and depended on a combination of factors including our focus on a diversified multi-geographic approach to markets, the strong public-private sector partnerships and global campaigns designed to create awareness of Dubai, highlight its unique propositions and most importantly emphasise that the city is safe, open and accessible to all.”
Dubai was ranked No.1 in the MEASA region and No. 12 globally in Julius Baer’s Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2021 while in the Global Talent Competitive Index Dubai ranks the third most desirable destination to live and work.
The UAE was also voted the fourth best for expatriates to live and work in on HSBC’s 14th annual Expat Explorer Survey 2021, up 10 places from 2020. The Gallup Global Law and Order 2021 report ranked the UAE as the No.1 country in the world for walking at night safely while the same report also ranked UAE as the No.2 safest country in the world.
Dubai was also voted the world’s No.1 destination for ‘City Lovers’ and No. 4 destination for ‘Food Lovers’ in Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2022.