Dubai May Exceed Pre-Covid Numbers Of International Tourists This Year

Emirate witnessed 3.1 million visitors in the first two months of 2023


Dubai could achieve its pre-pandemic annual number of international visitors this year following a growing influx of tourists, according to a new report. According to the latest data from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, the eEmirate witnessed 3.1 million visitors in the first two months of 2023, 

In January, the number of visitors increased by 50 per cent year-on-year and stood 9 per cent below pre-pandemic levels of 2019, according to an assessment by Emirates NBD. However, in February Dubai’s tourism exceeded pre-pandemic levels with 1.63 million visitors, up 7 per cent from 2019 and 35 per cent year-on-year.

“The strong start for the year shows promising signs that Dubai’s tourism may exceed the record number of visitors of 16.7 million in 2019,” Emirates NBD said in a report on Monday.

The tourism industry a strong contributor of the emirate's economy, has signifiantly rebounded from the coronavirus-induced slowdown. Dubai recorded 14.36 million international visitors in 2022, inching closer to the 16.73 million tourists in 2019, according to DET statistics. Dubai also came second behind Paris in a report by Euromonitor that revealed the top 100 city destinations last year.

Also, Dubai International Airport remained the world's busiest international hub for passengers last year for the ninth year in a row, as long-haul travel demand surged, rankings by the Airports Council International showed this month.

In March, the airport handled 16,713 flights, marking an annual increase of 23.7 per cent and surpassing pre-pandemic levels for the same period, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, chairman of Dubai Airports, said on Tuesday.

“These impressive figures reaffirm Dubai's role as a global hub for trade and travel, and resilience in the face of economic challenges around the world,” he said on Twitter.

State-owned operator Dubai Airports forecasts the number of passengers that will pass through the hub by the end of this year will reach 78 million, up from 66.1 million last year, as the UAE prepares to host major international events such as the Dubai Airshow and the Cop28 climate summit.

A full recovery to pre-pandemic levels on a monthly basis could come by the end of this year, or the beginning of next year, if monthly passenger figures reach 7.5 million, Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Dubai Airports, told The National in February.

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