Skip to content Skip to Search
Skip navigation

Demand for Dubai tourism ‘going up’ despite challenges

The Global Village in Dubai Reuters
The Global Village in Dubai runs is among the attractions for tourists
  • Inflation and rising oil prices will not dent Dubai tourism, says official
  • Demand in early 2023 was almost at pre-pandemic levels
  • Dubai targetting first-time visitors for growth

One of Dubai’s leading tourism figures has brushed off concerns over rising oil prices and stubbornly high inflation, striking a bullish tone on the outlook for growth in the emirate’s tourism industry ahead of a major conference.  

“We constantly monitor demand from forward bookings, and we can see that the demand for Dubai is going up,” said Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM).

In total, Dubai recorded 3.1 million guests from January to February this year, compared with the 3.14 million recorded in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“We’re very close to reaching our pre-pandemic figures,” said Kazim. “The momentum continues to accelerate.”

In January Dubai was ranked as the number one global destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards for a second successive year.

Kazim was speaking ahead of the 30th edition of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now one of the world’s biggest travel conferences. 

This year’s ATM is expected to draw in an anticipated 34,000 attendees from more than 150 countries. 

Kazim said that DCTCM was trying to attract more first-time visitors to Dubai and contribute to growth in tourism by increasing the number of stopover visits. 

Adnan Kazim, chief commercial officer at Dubai’s flagship airline, Emirates, said that direct flight bookings to Dubai currently account for 35 to 40 percent of the airline’s business and that the airline is working closely with part of the department of economy and tourism to increase the share of stopover bookings. 

He said that Emirates would announce new partnerships at the ATM. 

Emirates announced at the beginning of the year that it was boosting connectivity to China to cater to growing demand; the airline currently flies to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. 

Chinese visitors have grown to be one of the largest sources of tourism to Dubai in the last decade. Numbers increased 176 percent year on year to 52,000 in January and February – still down 75 percent on the same period in 2019 – after the lifting of Covid-related travel restrictions.

“We’re putting a lot of capacity back to China to capture the recovery that’s happening in that market,” said Kazim. He said that Emirates will start operating a daily A380 flight to Shanghai from June 4 and to Beijing from July 1. 

Latest articles

EV charger network UAE

UAE to roll out countrywide EV fast charger network

The UAE is speeding up the expansion of its electric vehicle charger infrastructure in support of the energy transition, the shift from fossil-based systems of energy production. UAEV, a joint venture between the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure and Etihad Water and Electricity that was announced on Monday, intends to build a network of high-performance […]

Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser (centre back) at the signing ceremony for the quantum computer deal with Pasqal

Aramco to use Saudi Arabia’s first quantum computer

Saudi Arabia plans to deploy its first quantum computer, after an agreement between the state oil company, Saudi Aramco, and the French computing company Pasqal.  Pasqal will install, maintain and operate a 200-qubit quantum computer, due for deployment in the latter half of 2025, Aramco said in a statement. Quantum computers use the principles of […]

A Tadawul trader looks at prices on the Saudi stock exchange. Aramco's profits have fallen as Riyadh reduces oil output

Saudi listed companies report Q1 profit rise

Businesses listed on the Saudi stock exchange, excluding the state energy giant Aramco, reported an 8 percent rise in first-quarter profits this year, highlighting the continued strength of the non-oil sector as hydrocarbon output is cut.  Net profit gains in the banking sector, and for telecoms operator STC and state mining company Maaden, helped to […]

A jet on the assembly line at the Airbus factory in Blagnac, France. Saudia says it is updating the interiors of its current fleet

Saudia announces ‘largest deal in Saudi aviation history’

Saudia, one of Saudi Arabia’s national carriers, has ordered 105 aircraft from Airbus, with the first batch due for delivery in early 2026. Saudia director general Ibrahim Al-Omar told an aviation industry forum in Riyadh that it is “the largest deal in Saudi aviation history”. A similarly large order has been made by new carrier […]