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Tourism to Dubai up nearly 200% this year

The Expo 2020 Dubai provided a big boost as the Emirati city continues to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
A visitor walks past a Dubai billboard at the Arabian Travel market exibition in the Gulf emirate, May 17, 2021.

Tourist visits to Dubai are way up so far this year. 

The Dubai Media Office said today that there were 6.17 million international “overnight” visitors from January to May 2022. This constituted a 197% increase from the same period in 2021, when slightly more than 2 million people visited the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) largest city. 

Overnight visitors exclude those who transit through Dubai’s airport. 

Why it matters: Tourist visits to Dubai and the UAE fell to zero for a period in 2020 when the country closed its airports. Dubai lifted its harsh curfew later that year and began gradually accepting more tourists

Passenger traffic at Dubai’s international airport — a major international transit hub — reached pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2022.

The tourism figures this year were helped by the Expo 2020 Dubai, which ran from October 2021 to the end of March 2022. More than 24 million people attended the cultural exhibition in the end. By January, 10 million had visited, indicating that more people went to the expo in 2022 than 2021. 

Know more: A growing number of Russian citizens traveled to Dubai in 2021. This year, many Russian oligarchs have sought refuge in Dubai as they evade Western sanctions related to the invasion of Ukraine.