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Dubai records 100% surge in international visitors in 2022

Burj Al Arab WAM WAM
Average occupancy for Dubai's hotel sector was one of the highest in the world at 73% in 2022

Dubai received 14.36 million international overnight visitors in 2022, growing 97 percent year-on-year (YoY) from the 7.28 million tourist arrivals in 2021, state-run WAM news agency reported, citing data from the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).

Dubai Crown Prince and Dubai Executive Council chairman Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said the rise in international visitors in 2022 supports the ambitious goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033.

“The exceptional growth in the inflow of visitors reflects Dubai’s continued rise as one of the world’s most connected cities and its determination to lead the world in hospitality infrastructure and service levels,” he added.

Dubai exceeded both global and regional barometers of recovery, with visitors to the city in 2022 reaching 86 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “While the global economy remains in a state of flux, Dubai has emerged as a clear leader in the tourism industry. We will continue to accelerate momentum throughout 2023 and beyond by focusing on all the key elements that have placed Dubai at the forefront of the world’s leading travel destinations.”

From a regional perspective, Western Europe and GCC regions each accounted for a 21 percent share of arrivals. In terms of the latter this represented an exponential increase from 13 percent in 2021.

South Asia contributed 17 percent of total volumes while the wider Mena region added 12 percent, WAM said.

The Americas accounted for seven percent of arrivals, north and southeast Asia and Africa each five percent, and Australasia two percent.

Hotels perform strongly

Dubai’s hotel sector continued to perform strongly across all hospitality metrics.

Average occupancy for the hotel sector in 2022 stood at 73 percent, one of the highest in the world, rising from 67 percent in 2021. The figure is just short of the 75 percent occupancy in 2019.

The emirate’s hotel inventory at the end of December 2022 comprised 146,496 rooms at 804 hotels, compared to 126,120 rooms available at the end of December 2019 across 741 establishments.

The total number of hotels in 2022 marked a six percent growth over 2021, with 755 hotels offering 137,950 rooms.

Occupied room nights reached a record high of 37.43 million in 2022, registering a 19 percent increase compared to 31.47 million in 2021 and a 17 percent increase over 2019, which saw 32.11 million occupied room nights.

The average daily rate (ADR) of AED536 ($145.93) in 2022 surpassed the ADRs for both 2021 (AED451) and 2019 (AED415), with 19 percent and 29 percent increases, respectively.

The hotel sector’s robust performance is also evident in its revenue per available room (RevPAR) growth, an increase of 30 percent YoY to AED391.