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Dubai tops its own tourism record with 17.15M international visitors in 2023

Dubai attracted an astounding 17.15 million international overnight visitors in 2023 to record the emirate’s highest-ever tourism performance, smashing both 2022 figures and pre-pandemic visitation levels.

Dubai attracted an astounding 17.15 million international overnight visitors in 2023 to record the emirate’s highest-ever tourism performance, smashing both 2022 figures and pre-pandemic visitation levels.

According to Dubai’s Department of Economy & Tourism (DET), the 2023 data showed a 19.4 per cent year-on-year increase on 2022’s 14.36 million tourist arrivals and also exceeded the previous pre-COVID record of 16.73 million visitors in 2019. 

Australasian travellers accounted for two per cent of arrivals in 2023 while Western Europe (19%) and South Asia (18%) recorded the highest share. Sixteen per cent of overnight visitors came from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

On track for 25M tourists in 2025

A tour bus in Dubai.
A tour bus in the emirate.

The growth in international tourism reflects Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s ambitious aim to attract 25 million tourists in 2025.

It also aligns with the newly launched Dubai Economic Agenda D33 goals to position the emirate as one of the top three global cities for business and leisure. This includes a focus on cruise tourism.

Burj Al Arab, Dubai
Burj Al Arab.

He attributed the tourism sector’s best-ever performance in 2023 to public-private partnerships that have transformed 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,” he said.

“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.”

Accomm on the up

The Lana Dubai hotel and residences complex.
The Lana Dubai Dorchester Collection Hotel & Private Residences Complex.

Last year, accommodation and food services activities also witnessed a remarkable 11.1 per cent growth, solidifying the emirate’s position as a global tourism leader. 

The average hotel occupancy in 2023 was also among the world’s highest at 77.4 per cent.

Recent tourism plans include a slew of new luxury hotels opening in Dubai this year along with Emirates’ increased capacity from Australia to Europe in 2024.

Read the full report here.