Dubai has an ambitious tourism strategy to attract 25 million visitors a year by 2025. If successful, this would make it the most visited city in the world and remove the crown from Bangkok.
Number of International Visitors to Dubai
Data from the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing shows that Dubai attracted 15.920 million tourists in 2018. This was an increase of 0.8% on the previous year.
India topped the list as the biggest source market of tourists. Around 2.032 million Indian tourists visited Dubai in 2018. Saudi Arabia was next on the list.
There were large rises in the numbers of visitors from China, Russia, Germany, and France.
Gains were offset by a drop in arrivals from countries such as the UK, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Iran.
The number of visitors to Dubai in recent years is shown in the table and graph below.
Visitors by country of origin are shown in the table and graph below.
Number of Hotels and Rooms
The number of hotels and hotel apartments continues to rise.
At the end of 2018, there were a total of 716 hotels and hotel apartments in Dubai. These provided a total room supply of 115,967.
Occupancy rates are amongst the highest in the world, but fell slightly from rates in 2017.
Although the number of visitors to Dubai increased in 2018, the supply of available rooms increased at a faster rate. As a result, daily average rates dropped from 492 AED (£103.47, €123.61, $133.95) in 2017 to 465 AED (£97.8, €116.82, $126.6) in 2018.
|Property Type||Number of Establishments 2018||Room Supply 2018||Occupancy Rate (%) 2018||Number of Establishments 2017||Room Supply 2017||Occupancy Rate (%) 2017|
|5 Star Hotels||113||38,543||76||103||35,853||7|
|4 Star Hotels||146||29,908||75||122||25,289||79|
|1 - 3 Star Hotels||260||22,634||75||260||21,591||79|
|Delux Hotel Apartments||68||10,522||78||65||9,768||78|
|Standard Hotel Apartments||129||14,360||78||131||14,930||81|
Top World Cities by Visitor Numbers
According the Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index 2018 (published September 2019), Dubai is the fourth most visited city in the world. Only Bangkok, Paris, and London attract 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 Dubai spent $533 (£411.73, €491.83, 1957.69 AED) per day in 2018, much higher than in any of the other cities.
Total visitor spending in Dubai for the year was $30.82 billion.
Overnight visitors to Dubai spent an average of 3.5 nights in the city. The average tourist stayed longer in Dubai than Paris, but shorter than in any other of the top 10 cities.
|City||2018 Overnight Visitors (millions)||Average Length of Stay (Nights)||Average Spend Per Day ($)|
|City||2018 International Overnight |
Visitor Spending ($billion)
|Palma de Mallorca||12.69|
Dubai International Airport Passenger Numbers
The World Aircraft Traffic Report 2018, published by Airports Council International in September 2019, reveals that Dubai International Airport (DXB) is the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger numbers.
In 2018 89.1 million passengers came through Dubai International Airport. Only Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in the US and Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) in China are busier.
|Rank 2018||Airport||Country||IATA Airport Code||Passengers|
|1||Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport||United States||ATL||107,394,029|
|2||Beijing Capital International Airport||China||PEK||100,983,290|
|3||Dubai International Airport||United Arab Emirates||DXB||89,149,387|
|4||Los Angeles International Airport||United States||LAX||87,534,384|
|5||Tokyo International Airport||Japan||HND||86,942,794|
|6||O'Hare International Airport||United States||ORD||83,245,472|
|8||Hong Kong International Airport||Hong Kong||HKG||74,515,927|
|9||Shanghai Pudong International Airport||China||PVG||74,006,331|
|10||Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport||France||CDG||72,229,723|
|11||Amsterdam Airport Schiphol||Netherlands||AMS||71,053,147|
|12||Indira Gandhi International Airport||India||DEL||69,900,938|
|13||Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport||China||CAN||69,743,211|
|15||Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport||United States||DFW||69,112,607|
|16||Istanbul Ataturk Airport||Turkey||IST||68,360,648|
|17||Incheon International Airport||South Korea||ICN||68,350,784|
|18||Soekarno-Hatta International Airport||Indonesia||CGK||65,667,506|
|19||Singapore Changi Airport||Singapore||SIN||65,628,000|
|20||Denver International Airport||United States||DEN||64,494,613|