Friday 4 February 2022
- Strong hotel performance surpasses pre-pandemic levels in Q4-2021
- Total number of rooms sold in Dubai during 2021 is almost 1% of all rooms sold worldwide
- Dubai’s hotel room demand for 2021 equals combined hotel room demand of London, Paris, and Oslo
- Average hotel occupancy reached 67% in 2021, among the highest globally
- India, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the UK are the top source markets
Dubai welcomed 7.28 million international overnight visitors between January and December 2021, representing 32% year-on-year growth, a momentous marker in the global tourism recovery that sets the city firmly on course to become the world’s most visited destination.
According to data published by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), the fourth quarter of 2021 saw 3.4 million visitors in the fourth quarter of 2021, achieving 74% of the total pre-pandemic tourist arrivals of Q4-2019, and paving the way for hotels in Dubai to deliver a stellar fourth-quarter performance that surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
The figures underline the resilience and resurgence of the city’s travel and tourism sector and reaffirm the sector's role as a key driver of economic growth. They also validate Dubai’s recent selection as the world’s most popular destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2022.
The performance also advances Dubai on its journey toward becoming the most visited destination and the world’s best city to live and work in.
Overcoming the impact of international travel restrictions in key global markets, Dubai continued to be the first choice as a safe tourism destination, attracting holidaymakers throughout 2021 from markets that were open. Dubai strongholds regained momentum to register positive growth during 2021, with the #1 source market India delivering 910,000 visitors (+5.3% YoY), followed by 491,000 travelers from Saudi Arabia (+22.8%), 444,000 from Russia (+50.3%), and 420,000 from the United Kingdom (+7.1%).
MENA and GCC markets collectively contributed 26% of the volumes, reinforcing Dubai’s continued appeal to travelers from proximity markets. Western Europe accounted for 22%, South Asia 18%, and Russia, CIS, and Eastern Europe 15%.
Dubai’s hotels performed strongly in the fourth quarter to achieve growth across all metrics compared to 2020. For the first time, the hotel sector outperformed pre-pandemic levels, including over 81.4% occupancy compared to 80.7% during Q4-2019.
Average occupancy reached 67% in 2021 compared to 54% in the previous year, which is among the highest occupancy rates internationally. Guests also spent longer in Dubai’s hotels, with average length of stay reaching 4.6 nights (up from 4.2 nights in 2020), while the total of 31.47 million occupied room nights represented 53.7% growth compared to 2020, and approximately 98% of the occupied room nights of 2019.
Analytics firm STR noted that “Dubai hotel room demand for 2021 equals London, Paris, and Oslo put together.” According to STR the total number of rooms sold in Dubai during 2021 is almost 1% of rooms sold across the world.
The opening of Expo 2020 Dubai on 1 October 2021 marked the start of an incredible new era for the city’s tourism industry, highlighting efforts by Dubai and the UAE to celebrate the best of global business and culture and uniting with nations in building a better world.
As the first in-person global congregation of such magnitude since the onset of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai continues to serve as a magnet for visitors to the city, attracting 11.6 million visits by residents and global travelers in the space of four months.
Dubai continued to score high across international indexes in 2021, further reinforcing its reputation as a global liveability hub and making the multicultural city that is home to over 200 nationalities even more attractive to tourists, investors, creative and cultural talents. Dubai was placed #1 in the MEASA region and #12 globally in Julius Baer's Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2021 while the Global Talent Competitive Index ranks Dubai as the #3 most desirable destination to live and work.