As one of the world’s busiest transit hubs, Dubai now leverages its rich offering of attractions and activities to encourage transferring travellers to spend extended stays there. However, the city aims to establish itself as a complete tourist destination, and it appears on course to achieve that goal.

Since the United Arab Emirates reopened to international visitors in July 2020 – after the first wave of the pandemic had passed its peak – travellers visiting Dubai are, on average, staying for longer.

Long stays (for more than two weeks) were the first length-of-stay type to reach 2019 levels, showing the growing appeal the destination has for travellers. Many travellers attending major events such as the Dubai Expo in Q4 2021, Formula One in Abu Dhabi, and Qatar’s FIFA World Cup in 2022 are choosing Dubai as their preferred hub and base.

Medium stays (between 6 and 13 nights) have also recovered strongly, comfortably surpassing 2019 levels in major holiday periods, such as Eid al-Fitr for Muslim tourists and Christmas holidays for European markets.

In a further indicator of Dubai’s growing reputation as a tourist destination, short stays have so far failed to match their 2019 performance.

Dubai’s evolution as a destination is reflected not only in changing length-of-stay shares but also in the type of travellers the city is attracting, which are now, on average, more valuable. The share of air arrivals in premium cabin classes has increased by three percentage points. The relative increase in affluent travellers is driven by family size groups (3-5 travellers) and couples. It appears the perception of Dubai as the Las Vegas of the Middle East is finally shifting.

In summary, Dubai has now matured and established itself as a fulfilling destination for holidaymakers from around the world – not merely a stop-over or a place to connect to another flight. Its rich events calendar and proximity to other major events in neighbouring locations, reputation as a safe and premium destination, and activities for couples and even families mean it can expect a busy 2023 as well.

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2023-01-25T11:15:18+01:0025/01/2023|All, DMO|
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