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Dubai welcomed 4.88 million visitors between January and October last year. Image Credit: AP

Dubai has beaten popular holiday destinations such as London, Bali and Rome to become the most popular destination for 2022.

In a list released by Tripadvisor, Dubai has taken the top spot, and is followed by London (UK), Cancun (Mexico), Bali (Indonesia) and Crete (Greece).

“Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure with world-class shopping and entertainment,” Tripadvisor said.

“Catch a show at the Dubai Opera, see downtown from atop the Burj Khalifa and spend an afternoon along Dubai Creek exploring the gold, textile and spice souks. If you’re looking for thrills, you can float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon, climb aboard a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure or skydive over the Palm Jumeirah,” it added.

Rome (Italy), Cabo San Lucas (Mexico), Istanbul (Turkey), Paris (France) and Hurghada (Egypt) completed the top 10 of the ‘Travelers’ Choice 2022: Popular Destinations – World’ list.

Dubai is not the only GCC country in the list. Qatar’s capital Doha is placed 22nd.

Two Indian cities – New Delhi at 15th and Jaipur at 19th -- also made the cut.

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“Inspired by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the city adopted a multi-pronged strategy to deal with the pandemic including a series of initiatives that further enhanced our global competitiveness and attractiveness as a multi-faceted destination. It is truly a proud moment for Dubai to be endorsed as the top global destination, reaffirming the decisive yet prudent measures taken by Dubai to safely navigate and accelerate out of this unprecedented global challenge,” said Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.

Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, said: “Dubai’s ability to evolve and adapt, and focus on a diversified approach to international markets have been critical in ensuring that the city continues to retain its position as the leading business and leisure destination and global liveability hub as envisioned by our visionary leadership. In winning this coveted award we appreciate the support extended by our stakeholders and partners across the board, for shining a light on the diversity of our offering, and representing the city so well during these challenging times. We have a positive outlook for 2022 and beyond, as we continue to prioritise efforts to strengthen the collaborative ecosystem and amplify tourism volumes through global campaigns designed to showcase the city as the perfect getaway for travellers from all demographics and segments.”

What makes Dubai special

Dubai’s high COVID-19 vaccination rates, strict implementation of precautionary measures such as sanitisation and social distancing, and ease of connectivity via flagship carrier Emirates have made it a popular destination.

According to the latest data published by the DET, Dubai welcomed over six million international visitors between January and November 2021, which surpasses the 5.5 million tourists who visited Dubai for the entire 2020. During this 11-month period, 743 hotel establishments with over 136,000 rooms also opened their doors to guests, delivering strong occupancy levels of over 60 per cent, which is among the highest occupancy rates internationally.

Expo 2020 Dubai has also made a major contribution towards creating awareness of Dubai and drawing more visitors to the city. Since opening on October 1, 2020, Expo 2020 has attracted over 10 million visits by residents and global travellers.

DXB world’s busiest airport
Last month, Dubai International Airport (DXB) retained its position as the world’s busiest in December, with over one million more seats than the next busiest, London Heathrow, according to aviation consultancy OAG. Dubai’s passenger capacity rose 15 per cent month-over-month to roughly 3.5 million seats in December as UAE welcomed thousands of visitors during its peak tourist season.

100% capacity

Following the opening of the final phase of Concourse A at Dubai International’s (DXB) Terminal 3, the world’s busiest international airport is 100 per cent operational. Visitors to Dubai exceeded 1 million during October, and DXB reached the important milestone of 1 million passengers per week in November, with origin-destination passengers reaching 94 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.

More connectivity

Dubai International has hit the 99 per cent mark. The target has been reached on its inter-connection network, with 198 destinations now covered through 89 national and international carriers operating their flights to over 90 countries.