Dubai Tourism Statistics

In just a few decades, Dubai has transformed itself from a desert backwater into one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in the world. And now, the city is aiming to become the most visited tourist destination on the planet, with a new tourism strategy that is targeting 25 million visitors by 2025.

To achieve this goal, the city is investing heavily in infrastructure, hotels, tourist attractions, and shopping malls.

The city has already taken steps to improve its infrastructure and visitor experience.

The extension to the Red Line of the Dubai Metro has made it possible for visitors to reach new areas of Dubai that were previously difficult to reach by public transport.

Expo 2020 Metro Station - Dubai Metro Red Line Extension
Expo 2020 Metro Station – Dubai Metro Red Line Extension

Dubai is constantly evolving, and there are always new attractions to see and experience.

One of the latest additions to the city is Ain Dubai, which is the world’s tallest Ferris wheel. For those who want to get a bird’s-eye view of the city, this is a must-see attraction. The View at the Palm also offers stunning panoramic views.

Ain Dubai
Ain Dubai

The Museum of the Future is a one-of-a-kind institution that explores the latest technological innovations, while Madame Tussauds Dubai brings iconic celebrities to life with lifelike wax figures.

These new attractions are sure to wow visitors and continue to put Dubai on the map as a must-see destination.

The city is home to some of the most luxurious and opulent hotels in the world, and new properties are being built all the time. Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, Atlantis the Royal, and W Dubai Mina Seyahi are just three of the hotels that opened in 2022.

These developments have made Dubai even more appealing to tourists from all over the world. There is no doubt that it is on track to becoming the most visited city on earth.

Number of International Visitors to Dubai – January to June 2022

According to the latest figures from the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, the number of international visitors to Dubai in the first six months of 2022 was 7.12 million. This represents an increase of over 182 per cent over the same period in 2021.

However, it is important to note that 2021 and 2020 were both affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, so a more accurate comparison is with pre-pandemic figures.

In the first half of 2019, 8.36 million tourists visited the city. This means that while there has been an increase in tourism since the pandemic began, the number of tourists has not yet returned to its pre-pandemic levels.

Much of the difference between the 2022 and 2019 figures is due to the loss of Chinese tourists. In the first 6 months of 2019, 501,000 Chinese tourists visited Dubai. In 2022, China’s borders remained effectively sealed as the country continued to pursue a zero-tolerance approach to a virus that other parts of the world have accepted as endemic.

However, with vaccines now available and travel restrictions beginning to ease, it is expected that Dubai will soon return to the pre-pandemic growth levels.

Tourists at The Beach, Dubai Marina
Tourists at The Beach, Dubai Marina

Number of International Visitors to Dubai – 2021

After a difficult year in 2020, Dubai’s tourism industry saw a rebound in visitor numbers in 2021. With global travel ramping up and COVID-19 restrictions easing, the city welcomed back tourists from all over the world.

In total, 7.28 million visitors arrived in the city in 2021, compared to 5.51 million in 2020. This was a significant increase of over 32 per cent.

YearTotal VisitorsIncrease/(Decrease)Increase/(Decrease) %
2014 13,200,000
2015 14,200,000 1,000,000 7.58
2016 14,900,000 700,000 4.93
2017 15,790,000 890,000 5.97
2018 15,920,000 130,000 0.82
2019 16,730,000 810,000 5.09
2020 5,510,000 (11,220,000)(67.07)
2021 7,280,000 1,770,000 32.12

Origin of International Visitors to Dubai – January to June 2022

According to the statistics for the first half of 2022, the top five countries of origin for visitors are India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and Russia.

These five countries account for over 40 per cent of all visitors to Dubai. However, it’s worth noting that there are a significant number of visitors from other countries as well.

Country of OriginVisitors January to June 2022
India 858,000
Oman 787,000
Saudi Arabia 543,000
UK 506,000
Russia 309,000
USA 262,000
France 219,000
Germany 215,000
Pakistan 193,000
Iran 165,000
Egypt 135,000
Kuwait 122,000
Italy 119,000
Israel 114,000
Kazakhstan 113,000
Netherlands 86,000
Australia 72,000
Canada 71,000
Sudan 70,000
Nigeria 68,000
Other 2,093,000
Total 7,120,000

Origin of International Visitors to Dubai – 2021

India has always been an important market for Dubai’s tourism sector, and that was no different in 2021. India remained the city’s top international visitor source market, accounting for 910,000 visitors. That’s a 5.2% increase from the previous year.

Many factors have contributed to India being the top source of visitors. One is the abundance of direct flights that make it convenient and affordable for Indian travellers to visit Dubai. Another is the wide range of hotel options, which appeals to a broad range of travellers.

Saudi Arabia had the second highest number of visitors in 2021 with 491,000 visitors. This was an increase of over 22 per cent from the previous year. This is a very impressive result, especially considering that Saudi Arabia closed its borders to all travel up to May 2021.

Russia was again one of the city’s largest tourism source markets, with 444,000 visitors in 2021, an increase of 50 per cent from the previous year.

Visitors from Oman, historically one of Dubai’s top five source markets, were significantly reduced in 2021 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. The Omani government reopened its borders with the UAE to vaccinated travellers in September 2021.

Country of OriginVisitors 2021
India 910,000.00
Saudi Arabia 491,000.00
Russia 444,000.00
UK 420,000.00
USA 311,000.00
France 291,000.00
Oman 280,000.00
Pakistan 247,000.00
Germany 240,000.00
Egypt 218,000.00
Kazakhstan 164,000.00
Iran 154,000.00
Ethiopia 139,000.00
Ukraine 112,000.00
Sudan 111,000.00
Italy 106,000.00
Israel 97,000.00
Netherlands 89,000.00
Lebanon 81,000.00
Jordan 78,000.00
Other 2,297,000.00
Total 7,280,000.00

Visitors by Source Market – January to June 2022 and 2021

Western Europe and GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia) were the top source markets for the city in the first 6 months of 2022.

Tourists at La Mer, Dubai
Tourists at La Mer

As noted above, Oman and Saudi Arabia have historically been amongst Dubai’s top international visitor source markets. Both of these GCC countries had strict travel restrictions in place for much of 2021.

RegionJanuary to June 2022 (%)2021 (%)
Western Europe2222
South Asia1618
Russia, CIS, Eastern Europe1115
North Asia and South-East Easia43

Purpose of Visit

The data for 2021 and previous years shows that most people travel to Dubai for leisure reasons, whether it be to enjoy the city’s many attractions or to relax in its luxurious hotels and resorts. Business travellers accounted for 12 per cent of all visitors to the city in 2021, which was consistent with 2020. Many business visitors are attracted by events such as GITEX and the Arabian Travel Market.

The proportion of travellers visiting the city to see friends and relatives in 2021 rose to 16 per cent, up 3 per cent from 2020.

Purpose of Visit2021 (%)2020 (%)2019 (%)
Visit Friends or Relatives161310

Hotels – Room Nights

In 2021, hotels in Dubai bounced back from the pandemic with some of their best results ever.

Thanks to a strong rise in the number of domestic guests, the city’s hotel industry had the second highest number of room nights sold on record. The remarkable figure of 31.47 million was only slightly down on the pre-pandemic peak of 32.11 million recorded in 2019.

Guests also stayed longer in 2021, averaging 4.6 nights compared to 4.2 nights the year before.

YearRoom NightsAverage Length of Stay (days)Average Daily Rate (AED)
2021 31,470,000 4.60451.00
2020 20,480,000 4.20343.00
2019 32,110,000 3.40415.00
2018 30,130,000 3.50465.00
2017 29,210,000 3.50492.00
2016 28,000,000 3.60511.00
2015 26,400,000 3.60569.00

Hotels – Number and Occupancy

In 2021, Dubai offered more hotel choices to travellers, as the city’s hotel room inventory grew. At the end of the year, the city had a total of 755 hotels and hotel apartments with 137,950 rooms available. This is compared to 711 hotels and hotel apartments with 126,947 rooms at the end of 2020.

This increase in the number of hotel rooms provided travellers with more options to find lodging that met their needs and budget.

The average hotel occupancy rate in 2021 was 67 per cent, up from 54 per cent in 2020.

Property TypeNumber of Establishments 2021Room Supply 2021Occupancy Rate (%) 2021Number of Establishments 2020Room Supply 2020Occupancy Rate (%) 2020Number of Establishments 2019Room Supply 2019Occupancy Rate (%) 2019Number of Establishments 2018Room Supply 2018Occupancy Rate (%) 2018
5 Star Hotels143 47,035 61134 44,067 45128 43,133 74113 38,543 76
4 Star Hotels181 40,377 66161 34,905 53158 33,120 75146 29,908 75
1 - 3 Star Hotels243 25,384 68225 21,732 59258 24,491 75260 22,634 75
Deluxe Hotel Apartments80 12,606 7574 11,845 6368 10,520 7768 10,522 78
Standard Hotel Apartments108 12,548 81117 14,398 66129 14,856 77129 14,360 78
Total755 137,950 67711 126,947 54741 126,120 75716 115,967 76

Hotels – Location

Hotels and hotel apartments are found in many areas of Dubai.

The areas with the greatest number of rooms are Deira, Al Barsha, Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, and Dubai Marina.

The Palm Jumeirah has the highest proportion of 5-star rooms. 87 per cent of available rooms here are in 5-star hotels. Bur Dubai has the lowest proportion of 5-star rooms.

Jebel Ali and Deira are best for budget visitors. In both of these areas, the proportion of rooms in 1 to 3-star hotels is just under 40 per cent.

AreaTotal Number of Rooms #5 Star #4 Star #1 - 3 Star #Hotel Apartments #5 Star %4 Star %1 - 3 Star %Hotel Apartments %
Trade Centre 5,870 2,269 2,402 79840139%41%14%7%
Jebel Ali 6,230 1,191 1,720 2,425 89419%28%39%14%
Palm Jumeirah 7,305 6,324 208-77387%3%0%11%
Oud Metha 7,460 3,028 1,415 1,586 1,431 41%19%21%19%
Bur Dubai 10,841 1,127 4,462 1,949 3,303 10%41%18%30%
Dubai Marina 11,178 6,187 2,382 435 2,174 55%21%4%19%
Other 11,198 2,751 3,891 2,120 2,436 25%35%19%22%
Downtown Dubai 13,779 9,098 2,154 420 2,107 66%16%3%15%
Jumeirah 16,440 8,200 2,868 2,468 2,904 50%17%15%18%
Al Barsha 17,923 2,561 8,831 1,974 4,557 14%49%11%25%
Deira 29,726 4,299 10,044 11,209 4,174 14%34%38%14%
Total 137,950 47,035 40,377 25,384 25,154 34%29%18%18%

Top World Cities by Visitor Numbers

According to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2018 (published September 2019), Dubai was the fourth most visited city in the world. Only Bangkok, Paris, and London attracted more overnight visitors.

Dubai was the most visited city in the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East.

Dubai topped the list for both total and average daily visitor spending. The average visitor to the city spent $533 (£464.17, €538.95, 1957.76 AED) per day in 2018, much higher than in any of the other cities.

Total visitor spending in Dubai for the year was $30.82 billion.

At the time of writing (September 2022), Mastercard has not published the report for any years after 2018.

Dubai International Airport Passenger Numbers

According to a report from Airports Council International (published in April 2022), Dubai International Airport (DXB) was the world’s busiest airport in 2021 in terms of international passenger traffic.

The busiest airport in terms of total passengers (international and domestic) was Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

The UAE is a small country. There are no domestic flights from Dubai International Airport or any other airport in the UAE (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, Fujairah, and Ras Al Khaimah).

Airports Council International (ACI) is the trade association of the world’s airports.

Dubai Duty Free - Dubai International Airport
Dubai Duty Free – Dubai International Airport

Top Tourist Attractions

According to Tripadvisor the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai (September 2022) are:

Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall

Tripadvisor is a travel website that helps users find hotels, restaurants, and activities for their upcoming trips. The website also includes user-generated reviews and ratings, as well as photos and videos. It is a great resource for travellers who want to get the most out of their trip.

Dubai Miracle Garden
Dubai Miracle Garden