Dubai on Track to Become World’s #1 Most Visited Destination

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Dubai welcomed a staggering 4.67 million international overnight visitors in the first quarter of 2023, achieving a remarkable 17% year-on-year growth, firmly positioning the city on track to become the most visited destination in the world.

According to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), this outstanding performance marks the city’s best first-quarter results since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Growth strategy

Top three aspirations

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Summit on the Global Agenda. Most visited destination.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, at the Summit on the Global Agenda. Photo by Norbert Schiller

The impressive growth aligns with the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in January, aiming to solidify Dubai’s status as one of the top three cities worldwide.

Commenting on the remarkable growth, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, emphasized the city’s emergence as a leading destination driving the recovery of the global tourism sector.

He attributed this achievement to the visionary leadership’s efforts to transform Dubai into a rapidly growing metropolis and the world’s premier hub for travel, talent, entrepreneurship, and investment.

His Highness also highlighted the newly launched Dubai Economic Agenda, which charts an ambitious path for Dubai to enhance its contributions to shaping the future of the global economy.

“The tourism sector is not only the strongest pillar of our economy but also a key enabler of Dubai’s distinctive role as a bridge between markets, cultures, and regions,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

“In the years ahead, Dubai will continue to introduce new pathbreaking initiatives to offer a distinctive proposition for travelers and achieve its goal of becoming the world’s best place to live, visit, work, and invest in.”

The announcement of Dubai’s outstanding performance was made during the ongoing 30th edition of the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai World Trade Centre.

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Leading the pack

The latest industry results position Dubai as the fastest-recovering destination globally, already reaching 98% of pre-pandemic levels in Q1 2023.

These figures surpass the projection made by the United Nations World Trade Organization, which estimated that international tourist arrivals could reach between 80-95% of pre-pandemic levels this year, particularly in Europe and the Middle East.

In Q1 2023, Dubai received just two percentage points fewer visitors compared to the pre-pandemic volume of 4.75 million tourists in the first three months of 2019, demonstrating a remarkable achievement since reopening its doors to international tourists in July 2020.

This exceptional performance also contributed to Dubai being crowned the number one global destination in Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards 2023 for the second consecutive year.

Looking ahead

Confident outlook

defaultHis Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, expressed confidence in the city’s strong trajectory for the year and its commitment to becoming the most visited and re-visited destination.

He attributed the positive industry performance to Dubai’s well-defined strategy and the unwavering support of tourism industry partners and stakeholders.

Almarri emphasized that the coming decade would witness extraordinary phases of transformation for the industry, focusing on infrastructure, technology, attractions, and experiences to achieve the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda 2033.

Global appeal

To maintain Dubai’s global appeal as the preferred destination for travelers, Almarri outlined a multi-pronged blueprint that contributed significantly to the city’s success in 2022. The strategy includes evolving the destination promise, a multi-geographic approach to markets, constant international outreach through global campaigns, hosting international events, and fostering stronger stakeholder relationships.

Almarri further emphasized the pillars of sustainability, innovation, and collaboration, which will be crucial in driving Dubai’s tourism industry forward.

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He highlighted the city’s commitment to sustainable tourism practices, including initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, conserve resources, and promote eco-friendly attractions and accommodations.

Always innovate

Almarri emphasized the importance of innovation in enhancing visitor experiences, such as the implementation of cutting-edge technologies and digital solutions.


Collaboration was another key aspect mentioned by Almarri, as Dubai aims to foster stronger partnerships with tourism industry stakeholders, both locally and globally.

By working together, the city can leverage collective expertise and resources to enhance Dubai’s tourism offerings and create mutually beneficial opportunities.

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As Dubai continues to invest in its infrastructure, diversify its offerings, and prioritize sustainability and innovation, it is poised to solidify its status as a top-tier destination for years to come.

Dubai’s impressive growth reinforces its position as a leading global tourism destination and the emirate is poised to shape the future of the global tourism industry.

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