Stock Dubai Airport Emirates
Traffic at DXB reached 95.6% of 2019 levels with passenger numbers exceeding 21.2 million in the first quarter of the year. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai welcomed 6.02 million tourists between January and April 2023, data showed, nearly a million more than the same period last year, at 5.1 million – 18.04 per cent up.

The tourist footfall was also very close to 6.26 million registered in the same period in the pre-pandemic year of 2019, and more than a third of 2022’s annual numbers of 14.36 million.

Most tourists were from India, at 806,000, followed by Russia (474,000), the UK (391,000), Saudi Arabia (352,000), and Oman (348,000). Germany, the US, Israel, China and Iran were among the top 10 source countries.

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Overall, most tourists came from Western Europe (22 per cent), followed by South Asia (16 per cent) and Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe (15 per cent).

This surge in tourists comes as Dubai’s main tourism engines, Emirates airline and Dubai International Airport, have taken quick and measured steps to ease pandemic-induced restrictions, employ adequate staff and rapidly expand services as tourist numbers climbed, even as airlines and airports internationally struggle with burgeoning tourist numbers.

A nationwide vaccination drive, easing of entry restrictions and enhancement of tourist offerings in the UAE have made the emirates a sought-after destination not just for tourists but also for talented professionals.

Accommodation supply and demand

Dubai’s 51,268 five-star rooms had a 78 per cent occupancy during the four-month period, while the emirate’s 42,786 four-star rooms saw 80 per cent occupancy.

Total number of rooms available stood at 148,949, a 6 per cent increase over 2022 levels (and 26 per cent up compared to 2019 levels.)

Average rates

Average daily rate for the four-month period stood at Dh599, up 6 per cent from 2022 levels, and 22 per cent higher than 2019 levels.

Surge at DXB

Traffic at Dubai International Airport (DXB) reached 95.6 per cent of 2019 levels with passenger numbers exceeding 21.2 million in the first quarter of the year. This follows DXB’s strong showing last year, during which the airport clocked 66m passengers to retain its position as the world’s busiest international hub for the ninth year running.

DXB’s passenger traffic totalled 21,256,489 during the first three months of the year, up 55.8 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2022, and marking the first time since the fourth quarter of 2019 when average monthly traffic reached the seven-million passenger-mark. March was the busiest month in the first quarter with 7.3 million passengers, which is also the highest monthly traffic since January 2020 when DXB recorded 7.8m passengers.