Dubai sees 183 per cent growth in visitors compared to the first half of 2021. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai attracted 7.12 million international overnight visitors between January and June 2022, a growth of more than 183 per cent compared to the 2.52 million tourists who visited Dubai during the same period in 2021, according to latest data from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).

This positive trend in H1 2022 places the city firmly on track to achieve its tourism goals for 2022 and beyond, and further reinforces its position as an international destination of choice.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “The rapid rise in international tourist arrivals puts Dubai on track to achieve its ambitious target of becoming the world’s most visited destination. In the years ahead, Dubai will continue to develop itself further as a destination that offers compelling value to international travellers.”

The number of tourists recorded in H1 2022 was close to the numbers achieved in the first six months of 2019, which saw 8.36 million tourists arriving in Dubai.

Regional market share

From a regional perspective, Western Europe accounted for a significant share of tourist arrivals, comprising 22 per cent of total international visitors in the first six months of 2022. MENA and GCC continued to make an impact, collectively contributing 34 per cent. South Asia contributed 16 per cent, and Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe together accounting for 11 per cent.

Hotel occupancy soars

Average occupancy for the hotel sector between January and June 2022 stood at 74 per cent, one of the world’s highest, compared to 62 per cent in H1 2021, just short of the 76 per cent occupancy level registered during the pre-pandemic period of H1 2019.

Dubai’s hotel inventory by the end of June 2022 comprised 140,778 rooms open at 773 hotel establishments, compared to 118,345 rooms available at the end of June 2019 across 714 establishments. Meanwhile, the total number of hotels in H1 2022 marked an 8 per cent growth over H1 2021, highlighting continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism sector.

The hotel sector outperformed pre-pandemic levels across all other key measurements – Occupied Room Nights, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR). Dubai hotel establishments delivered a combined 18.47 million occupied room nights during the first six months of the year, a 30.4 per cent growth (year-on-year), and an 18 per cent increase over the pre-pandemic period of H1 2019, which yielded 15.71 million occupied room nights. In addition, the ADR of Dh567 in the first half of the year surpassed the ADRs for both H1 2021 (Dh382) and 2019 (Dh444). RevPAR surged 76 per cent compared to the first six months of 2021 (Dh417 vs Dh237) and an increase of 24 per cent over the pre-pandemic period in 2019 (RevPAR of Dh336). According to hotel analytics firm STR, Dubai ranks No.3 globally on RevPAR ($147), after Paris ($195) and New York ($172).