Dubai welcomed more tourists than ever before in 2023, attracting 17.15 million international overnight visitors over the course of the year, according to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET). Representing a 19.4% YoY growth over the 14.36 million tourist arrivals in 2022, last year’s figure also exceeded the previous record of 16.73 million visitors registered in 2019.
The growth aligns with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched just over a year ago by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to further consolidate Dubai’s position as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure, and the best city to visit, live and work in.
His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “The best ever performance of Dubai’s tourism sector in 2023 is a testament to the foresight of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. His Highness’s commitment to fostering resilience, excellence and innovation across economic sectors and encouraging meaningful public-private partnerships that deliver value has had a transformative impact on tourism development in the emirate.
Dubai’s ability to constantly generate diverse and refreshingly novel travel and tourism experiences catering to a wide range of visitors has been a key factor behind this exceptional performance. With several indicators outperforming pre-pandemic levels, this year’s results mark Dubai out as a vibrant focal point of growth in the global tourism landscape.”
Celebrating a record-breaking year in 2023, Dubai further bolstered its ranking as the No.1 global destination for an unprecedented third successive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024, the first city to achieve this unique accolade. The milestones are testament to the emirate’s vibrant and diverse offerings, supported by world-class infrastructure, exceptional service at all touchpoints, and continuous collaboration between the government and private sectors.
The city caters to travellers of all budgets and preferences, and a year-round calendar of business, leisure and sporting events continues to attract international visitors.
The tourism sector’s performance closely parallels the emirate’s 3.3% GDP growth in the first nine months of 2023, further highlighting the symbiotic relationship between tourism and economic prosperity. Accommodation and food services activities witnessed a remarkable 11.1% growth, solidifying Dubai’s position as a global tourism leader.
Dubai’s international visitor performance has outshone global tourism trends, with the latest data from the UN World Tourism Organisation revealing that, overall, international tourism reached 88% of pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. The only region to overcome pre-pandemic levels with 22% visitation growth above 2019, the Middle East led global recovery in relative terms.
His Excellency, Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said: “The significant rebound of Dubai’s tourism sector, outstripping global recovery rates, stands as a testament to the vision and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. This surge not only commemorates the inaugural year of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 but also highlights the efficacy of a strategy that is a decade in the making, exemplifying resilience and adaptability as central to our economic impetus.
Under the oversight of this decisive leadership and a proven public-private partnership model, Dubai has sustained robust growth, fostering confidence within local and global industries, players and enablers.
Our success stems from a diversified portfolio, with significant gains in leisure, new emerging segments, and the MICE sector as a whole, which have been further catalysed by liberal visa policies and dynamic private sector ambition. These strides reinforce Dubai’s status as a premier destination for living, visiting, and conducting business.
With the Dubai Economic Agenda D33’s strategy serving as our economic compass for the next ten years, we are committed to strengthening the tourism sector, enhancing our assets and infrastructure, and stimulating broader economic growth. This comprehensive approach ensures tourism thrives in tandem with our goals of talent acquisition, business acceleration and government innovation, to position Dubai as the epicentre for all those eyeing their next phase of growth and expansion.”