With nearly 12 million expected visitors in 2014, Dubai is expected to be among the top five most visited destinations in the world, ahead of other leading destinations such as New York (ranked 6) and Istanbul (ranked 7). Dubai’s meteoric rise in terms of the hospitality and tourism industry has been spectacular in the recent past. However, given the massive pace, with which Dubai’s hospitality industry is further moving ahead, lot of new exciting chapters are expected to be unfolded in the coming time.

Dubai in Comparison with other Four Popular Tourist Destinations
Rank Name Country Estimated Tourist Arrival Key Attractions
    1 London United Kingdom 18.7 M Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, British Museum
    2 Bangkok Thailand 16.42 M Floating Market, Chinatown, Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw.
    3 Paris France 15.57 M Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc De Triomphe, Paris Museum
    4 Singapore Singapore 12.47 M Universal Studio, Marina Bay Sands Sky park, Merlion Park
    5 Dubai UAE 11.95 M Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Dubai Mall, Ski Dubai

It’s important to understand that in Dubai’s case tourism is not just another dollar minting export industry, but it’s associated with tremendous strategic significance. Tourism along with retail, real estate and trade are some of the key cornerstones of Dubai’s long terms strategic plans, which are also integrated with its preparation for World Expo 2020.

In the next six years, Dubai has plans to escalate its tourism intake to 20 million. With this pace it will easily surpass Singapore and Paris to leapfrog into top three tourist destinations in the world. Dubai at the moment has an arsenal of 84,000 hotel rooms with an average occupancy of 80%. As a part of its long term plan, it will add another 30,000 to 60,000 hotel rooms in the next 5-7 years and is developing the largest airport in the world, which once complete will handle 220 million passengers annually.

It’s spearheading some of the most ambitious real estate, retail and tourism projects including the Mall of The World, a mammoth mall  to be built in 48 million sq. ft. Interestingly the city is also committed towards integrating its overall growth with sustainable practices such as Smart City plans, which are aimed at using of mobile and technological applications to access various public services, thereby adding more comfort and smoothness to the lives of citizens and tourists.

Whatever Dubai does, it does it in style and the same applies to its ongoing plans in the context of tourism industry. On the backdrop of a resurging economy, sound macroeconomic fundamentals and large scale investments, Dubai is expected to go places.

Author: RKonnect
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at
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