Dubai's tourism sector might have the vision of making the emirate the most visited and re-visited destination, but for now its passenger traffic numbers are falling just shy of 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Dubai’s main airport registered a 55.8 percent increase in passenger traffic in the first quarter of this year compared to last year, reaching 95.6 percent of 2019 pre-pandemic levels, operator Dubai Airports said on Tuesday.
Dubai International Airport (DXB), the world’s busiest international hub, welcomed around 21.3 million passengers in the first three months of 2023, Dubai Airports said.
Dubai International registered 66 million passengers in 2022.
Dubai Airports has revised its 2023 forecast upwards to 83.6 million passengers, bringing it within “striking distance” of 2019 annual traffic, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths said.
“With important developments in the international travel sector such as the further easing of travel protocols in China, and the upcoming local annual seasonal peaks and festive holidays, our outlook for the second quarter and the remainder of the year remains bullish,” Griffiths said.
Dubai emirate is the tourism and trade hub of the United Arab Emirates and will at the end of the year host the COP28 climate conference.
DXB is connected to 234 destinations, with India, Saudi Arabia and Britain the top three countries by passenger numbers this quarter, Dubai Airports said.
The amount of cargo handled was 23 percent lower than in the first quarter of 2022.
(Writing by Lisa Barrington; editing by Barbara Lewis)
Middle East Travel Roundup
Get the latest news from the Middle East in one easy-to-digest newsletter.
Tags: air travel, airlines, coronavirus recovery, dubai, dubai international airport, tourism
Photo credit: Dubai Airport passenger traffic numbers remain below pre-pandemic levels. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Simisa / Wikimedia Commons