UAE Tourism Growth - 2022

UAE Tourism Growth – 2022

The EXPO 2020 that happened in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during 2022, along with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has helped the country to significantly boost its economy. A report published by Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), suggested that there has been a strong growth in most of the economic activities in the UAE. The tourism sector in particular, which contributes 6% towards UAE’s GDP, experienced strong growth. Dubai is again ranked as the world’s busiest international airport, with international passenger numbers exceeding the pre-pandemic level in Q2 of 2022.

Similarly, the Q4 of 2022 also saw significant growth in tourism, because of the FIFA World Cup that recently concluded in Qatar. The current expansion momentum might carry over to 2023 in line with government policies that aim to increase foreign direct investment through eight comprehensive economic and trade agreements it expects to sign in the near future.

Dubai Tourism Overview – 2022

A report published by Dubai tourism mentioned that there were over 10 million international travelers visiting Dubai in the first nine months of 2022. During the similar period in 2021, Dubai received only 3.85 million visitors. Market research data published by the Department of Economy and Tourism Dubai indicates 162.8% increase in tourist inflow from the last year with Dubai being the most searched travel destination globally in 2022.

India was the biggest source market with 1.24 million international visitors to Dubai. It was followed by Oman (1.05 million), Saudi Arabia (907,000) and the United Kingdom (720,000). There was a surge in Russian tourists as well-placed at fifth position with 454,000 visitors. The US (391,000), Pakistan (279,000), France (269,000), Germany (268,000) and Iran (247,000) held 6th to 10th position respectively. The tourists from Western Europe to Dubai accounted for 22% in 2022, while Middle Eastern and Gulf countries contributed significantly with 34%. South Asian countries’ share was 16%. Russian, Commonwealth and Eastern European countries accounted for 11% collectively.

Dubai’s average hotel occupancy was up by 75% in the first half of 2022. This echoes a similar percentage to pre-pandemic times (in 2019). However, the occupancy rate was achieved despite a 19% increase in room capacity when compared to a similar period in 2019. Dubai’s hotel inventory by the end of first half in 2022 comprised 140,778 rooms open at 773 hotels, compared to 118,345 rooms available in June 2019 across 714 hotels.

Government Initiatives to Promote Dubai Tourism

Dubai tourism authorities have launched initiatives aimed at promoting the travel and tourism industry in the country, a number of tourism initiatives, plans, and projects are implemented to develop tourism and environment-friendly destinations. They also focus on promoting cultural tourism, events, activities, festivals, and sustainability projects. Government tourism authorities work closely with private sector entities at the state level to support accelerated growth and provide better value, welcoming all tourists and investors from all over the world and establishing partnerships with international bodies. 

The Dubai tourism board also strives to ensure the quality of services, enhance the tourism experience to the highest level, and align the classification of hotels with standards of service and value provided to visitors.

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Author: Waqas Siddiqui
As a research consultant, I am passionate about supporting businesses in successfully expanding in the UAE and Gulf region. I can be reached at for research inquiries.