World Travel Market (WTM) returns to London this week, with the industry is poised for a spectacular show at the ExCel Centre.
Dubai will once again be taking centre stage, with a raft of new properties, events and initiatives to showcase as the emirate continues to soar on the international tourism scene.
Already one of the largest travel and tourism events anywhere, WTM has signed up more than 14 per cent new exhibitors this year, ranging from household names to specialist firms and niche brands.
The show is expected to have around 4,000 exhibitors walk through the doors of the ExCeL London on November 6th-8th.
Dubai received 14.36 million international overnight visitors in 2022, growing 97 per cent YoY from the 7.28 million tourist arrivals in 2021, according to the latest data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
The growth, which enabled the emirate to surpass global and regional tourism recovery levels, contributes to the goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched by sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three cities for travel and business.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, said: “Dubai’s ability to rapidly accelerate tourism growth, which has marked it out as a clear frontrunner in the international industry, demonstrates the far-reaching vision of sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform the emirate into an important global player in shaping the future of vital sectors.
“The remarkable rise in international visitation in 2022 supports the ambitious goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to double the size of the emirate’s economy by 2033.
“The tourism and travel sector contributes significantly to the leadership’s aim of making the emirate a model for excellence in the global economy.
“The exceptional growth in the inflow of visitors reflects Dubai’s continued rise as one of the world’s most connected cities and its determination to lead the world in hospitality infrastructure and service levels.
“The high growth shows the world that we never rest on our achievements and constantly work to raise our benchmarks. I am confident that Dubai will be an even greater catalyst for the growth of global tourism and travel connectivity in the years ahead.”
The strong performance in 2022 features some noteworthy spikes in Dubai’s traditional key markets and strong growth across emerging markets.
Dubai remained a first-choice safe travel destination for visitors from the city’s stronghold markets.
From a regional perspective, Western Europe and GCC regions each accounted for a 21 per cent share of arrivals.
The GCC region in particular saw an exponential increase in their share of arrivals from 13 per cent in 2021 to 21 per cent last year.
South Asia contributed 17 per cent of total volumes while the MENA region contributed 12 per cent, further reinforcing Dubai’s continued appeal to travellers from proximity markets.
The Americas accounted for seven per cent of arrivals while the North Asia and Southeast Asia region and Africa each contributed five per cent and Australasia accounted for two per cent.
Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing, said: “As Dubai continues to grow exponentially in line with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 launched by our visionary leadership to make Dubai one of the world’s top three cities for tourism and business, it remains committed to moving to the next level with new and unique world-class infrastructure, experiences and attractions.”
Dubai’s hotel sector, which continues to be integral to the emirate’s destination promise and the overall growth of the tourism industry, continued to perform strongly across all hospitality metrics.
Average occupancy for the hotel sector in 2022 stood at 73 per cent, one of the highest in the world, rising from 67 per cent in 2021.
The figure is just short of the 75 per cent occupancy in the pre-pandemic period of 2019.
The high occupancy is particularly noteworthy as it was achieved despite a 16 per cent increase in room supply in 2022 compared to 2019.
Dubai’s hotel inventory at the end of December 2022 comprised of 146,496 rooms at 804 hotel establishments, compared to 126,120 rooms available at the end of December 2019 across 741 establishments.
The total number of hotels in 2022 marked a six per cent growth over 2021, with 755 hotel establishments offering 137,950 rooms, figures that highlight the continued strong investor confidence in Dubai’s tourism sector.
One of the driving factors behind Dubai’s success in 2022 can be attributed to captivating global campaigns conducted in collaboration with regional and international celebrities, opinion leaders, influencers and community personalities that highlighted the city’s unique appeal and brought to life the myriad experiences it offers.
One such campaign is Dubai Presents, which takes a novel approach to global destination marketing, using a highly stylised movie approach to create engaging content.
In a welcome piece of news ahead of WTM, Virgin Voyages’ newest ship – Resilient Lady – has made the maiden call at Dubai Harbour for her inaugural Arabian Gulf visit.
The call is one of several international cruise liners set to arrive at Dubai Harbour during this year’s cruise season, with 300,000 passengers and 49 ship calls.
Dubai expects to see double-digit growth in cruise ship passengers at both ports during the coming season.
The city expects to record another strong season, with 28 per cent more visitors forecasted in comparison to the 2022-2023 cruise season.
In the coming months, up to 150 cruise ships are expected to call in Dubai at Mina Rashid and Dubai Harbour, according to state news agency WAM.
The season started on October 28th with the arrival of the luxury liner Mein Schiff 2, which docked at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal at Mina Rashid.
Resilient Lady is the newest vessel to join the Virgin Voyages fleet that previously included Scarlet Lady and Valiant Lady. Resilient Lady launched on May 14th this year from her summer homeport in Athens, Greece.
Resilient Lady was designed by architects and designers, including Tom Dixon and Concrete Amsterdam, with menus curated by Michelin-starred chefs.
Dubai took a number of prestigious honours at the World Travel Awards this year, walking away with trophies for Middle East’s Leading Destination, Middle East’s Leading Meetings & Conference Destination, Middle East’s Leading Tourist Board and Middle East’s Leading Wedding Destination.
Visit Dubai Tourism during World Travel Market at stand S6-210 – or head over to the official website.