Dubai on track to welcome 20m+ international visitors in 2024

Dubai on track to welcome 20m+ international visitors in 2024

Dubai is well positioned to set another record for international arrivals this year, establishing itself among the world’s top three destinations for the first time

After welcoming a record of 17.15 million international visitors in 2023, Dubai is set to break the 20 million barriers for the first time in 2024, an achievement that would officially rank it among the world’s top three destinations by visitor numbers.

The prediction forms part of Oxford Economics’ latest Middle East & Africa Inbound Tourism Outlook report, which identifies key regional tourism trends, benchmarking its performance against global markets and offering insights into potential 2024 outcomes.

The forecast growth of Dubai’s tourism sector builds on the city’s exceptional performance in 2023, where the emirate welcomed 17.15 million visitors, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and marking a 19.4% increase from 2022. This achievement solidified Dubai’s status among the world’s top five travel destinations.

Breaking records and earning global acclaim

On the back of record-breaking tourism growth, Dubai was named the world's No.1 destination for the third consecutive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Destinations Awards 2024. Additionally, it was ranked the No.1 city to relocate to by financial services provider Remitly and the best city for remote workers by property consultancy Savills in its 2023 Executive Nomad Index.

Other notable honours include securing second place in Euromonitor International's Top 100 City Destinations Index for 2023 and being listed among the top 10 cities in the Global Power City Index by the Mori Memorial Foundation's Institute for Urban Strategies in Japan. These accolades highlight Dubai’s global appeal and its strategic importance as a leading tourism hub.

Economic impact and visitor spending

Oxford Economics predicts that Dubai’s tourism boom will be accompanied by a substantial increase in tourism expenditure. Visitors to Dubai are projected to spend a combined US$21 billion in 2024, a significant jump from US$14 billion in 2019. This increased spending will further enhance tourism’s contribution to Dubai’s economy, aligning with the city’s long-term economic goals outlined in the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33.

Dubai’s strategic location and world-class infrastructure has established it as a top destination among travellers from markets as diverse as Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

Chinese arrivals to boost industry’s performance

A significant factor in Dubai’s projected growth this year is the anticipated recovery of Chinese outbound tourism. As China emerges from the pandemic era, Dubai is set to benefit from a surge in Chinese visitors, with travel volumes expected to exceed pre-pandemic levels in 2024. The UAE's visa-on-arrival policy for Chinese visitors and the restoration of flight capacities contribute to this positive outlook.

Chinese tourists, known for their high per capita expenditure, are expected to significantly boost Dubai’s tourism revenue. Oxford Economics forecasts that Chinese outbound spending will recover rapidly, with Dubai, as a luxury travel destination, standing to gain substantially from this trend.

Ultimately, Dubai's ambitious and holistic approach to tourism development combined with its growing popularity as a year-round tourism destination, means it is well placed to achieve the forecast of 20m+ international visitors in 2024.

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