India, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Russia and Oman are the top five source markets
Dubai is set to welcome a record-breaking number of visitors in 2023.
The total number of international visitors in 2023 has already reached 12.4 million as of the end of September, compared to 10.1 million in 2022 and 12 million in 2019.
Dubai's top five source markets this year are India, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Russia and Oman.
Issam Kazim, chief executive of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, is confident the city will top its previous record number of visitors, which means he can “stop talking about 2019 and look to the future, away from the pandemic”.
Kazim said: “Our record year has always been 2019 and we were on track to surpass it in 2020 but then the pandemic hit and everything stalled. This year’s numbers are looking like we’ll beat 2019 records which is great because we want to stop comparing everything to 2019 and push ahead, working towards the future."
Among the key source markets, UK visitor numbers to Dubai have not recovered as quickly as others, but Kazim said the return of a Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to the city, which began operating last month, will help close the gap.
“The load factor is healthy across the board so we are hopeful more flights will be scheduled to keep bringing in those visitors that clearly want to see us,” added Kazim. “There were a lot of changes in the aviation industry during the pandemic and airlines are trying as hard as they can to rehire and retrain staff and redeploy their fleet and the faster we can get that up and running the better.”