Dubai welcomes 7.28 million visitors in 2021

Dubai’s major international markets are gaining momentum, posting positive figures, led by India as the top market with 910,000 visitors, followed by KSA, Russia and the UK.

Between January and December 2021, Dubai welcomed 7.28 million international overnight visitors, representing a 32 per cent year-on-year increase, setting an important milestone in the recovery of global tourism and setting the city on a firm course to achieve sustainable growth on its way to becoming the world’s most visited destination. 

According to the latest figures released by the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), the number of international tourists visiting the city surpassed 3.4 million in Q4 2021, representing 74% of total arrivals in Q4 2019 and paving the way for Dubai hotels to deliver an outstanding fourth quarter performance that surpassed pre-pandemic levels.

A positive trend that is expected to continue throughout 2022 and beyond, the 2021 visitor figures underline the resilience and revival of the city’s travel and tourism sector and confirm the role of tourism as a key driver of economic growth, as well as confirming Dubai’s recent selection as the world’s most popular destination by Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2022.

Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General, Dubai Economy and Tourism commented: “Under the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, our ability and agility to deliver a remarkable turnaround in the face of ongoing global challenges has strengthened Dubai’s position as the destination of choice for international travellers. Outstanding performance also contributes to our push to become the world’s most visited tourist destination and the world’s best city to live and work in. Leading the recovery of global tourism with the support of our stakeholders and partners, Dubai continually sets precedents by demonstrating how to safely but effectively open up to international visitors and, most importantly, stay open. Dubai’s well-coordinated, consistent, proactive and creative approach has enabled it to lay the foundation for an accelerated recovery, which has received a strong boost with the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai and the celebration of the UAE’s golden jubilee.

“Dubai’s success in 2021 is testament to the carefully calibrated strategy and decisive measures that have been put in place from the outset to counter and manage the pandemic across all sectors, including trade and tourism. By carefully adhering to the highest standards of hygiene and safety, supported by the diligence and cooperation of all stakeholders, Dubai has been able to build the confidence of UAE residents and travellers from around the world in the city as one of the safest in the world, allowing them to enjoy a diverse range of tourism offerings in a peaceful environment. As we move towards 2022, we are confident that the significant momentum gained now will further accelerate and continue to attract not only tourists but also investors, entrepreneurs and innovators to Dubai, allowing them to enjoy and benefit from all that our diverse city has to offer,” added Al Marri.

Dubai’s leading position in the world and the high performance of its hotels was highlighted by STR, an international hotel analysis company, which noted that “demand for hotel rooms in Dubai in 2021 is equal to London, Paris and Oslo combined.” According to STR, the total number of rooms sold in Dubai in 2021 is almost one per cent of all rooms sold globally.

Dubai continues to pursue bold regulatory initiatives to help accelerate growth in the tourism sector, including facilitating access to the emirate by establishing seamless entry procedures for business travellers and tourists, as well as long-term engagement with the city. These include a five-year multi-entry visa for employees of multinational companies, as well as a new timeshare law and portal that will help pave the way for a world-class property market in Dubai, as well as provide tourists with suitable alternatives to encourage them to spend multiple and extended holidays in the UAE.  These initiatives have been complemented by other previously announced initiatives, including the Golden Visa initiative targeting investors, entrepreneurs and specialised talent, as well as Virtual Jobs and Get a Job in Dubai programmes.

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