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Travel & Tourism

Desirable Dubai: Unpacking the UK and Ireland Visitor Boom

Dubai skyline at night
Credit: Unsplash/Robert Bock

In the first half of 2023, Dubai experienced a surge in visitors from the UK and Ireland, with 555,000 travellers from the two countries visiting between January and June. These numbers were part of an impressive 8.6 million overall visitors that Dubai received in the first half of 2023, which was a jump of more than 20% from the same period in 2022.

Tourists From the UK and Ireland

Not only did Dubai’s overall visitor numbers increase during this period, but so did the number of visitors specifically from the UK and Ireland. The 555,000 travellers represented a 10% increase in visitors from the two countries, which stands out when compared to trends from other regions.

One of the reasons behind this surge lies in the strategic efforts of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM). They have been proactive in promoting tourism through targeted campaigns aimed at potential holidaymakers residing in the UK and Ireland markets. The city has a goal of becoming the best city in the world not just to visit, but also to live and work.

This strategy is a good one, especially in the world of remote working. Dubai has already been attracting expats in industries like oil, tourism, and banking for a long time, but if the city is able to position itself as the premier location for remote workers, these numbers will continue to grow and grow.

Additionally, Dubai is becoming the home of more and more exhibitions for different industries. This year alone, the city is set to host events like the International Apparel and Textile Fair, the Airport Show Dubai, and the GITEX Global Trade Show. All of these types of events are likely to draw interest from people in the UK and Ireland.

The Allure of Dubai

For visitors from the UK and Ireland, the climate of Dubai is particularly alluring. While winter in the UK and Ireland can be cold, wet, and grey, Dubai offers a very inviting alternative with its either warm or hot temperatures all year round.

That said, it’s not just about escaping the cold. Given the advancements in travel infrastructure and the number of airlines that fly through Dubai, the city has quickly become a very common and popular stopover destination.

In fact, as this travel blog alludes to, Dubai has many great attractions that can be seen within a 24-hour stopover. As we’ve seen with the rise in tourist numbers, all of the activities that you can take part in are likely to encourage travellers to return to the city later on for a whole holiday. Whether it’s a trip to the Jumeirah Public Beach or some shopping in the Mall of the Emirates, visitors on a layover are sure to be left wanting more.

Gazebo on beach
Credit: Unsplash/Jason Peter

More Than Just a Stopover

Although the first taste of Dubai for many travellers is during their journey to get somewhere else, a lot of work has been done to make sure that’s just the beginning. One thing that has been done is a focus on making the city visually appealing, and sites like the Burj Khalifa and the architectural marvel of Palm Jumeirah are both great examples of that.

Similarly, there has been an emphasis on positioning Dubai as the home of luxury. Dubai now has the reputation that opulence is not simply optional, but expected. Hotels like Atlantis The Palm and Burj Al Arab provide luxurious stays, while restaurants like Ossiano and Zuma offer visitors high-end dining experiences.

Given its location, there are also unmissable experiences that you can’t get anywhere else. Desert safaris can have you out riding on quad bikes or camels before meeting Bedouin storytellers and learning about their culture. You could be seated at an expensive Michelin-starred restaurant overlooking the marina one night, and out in the desert eating a traditional Bedouin feast the next night. Where else in the world can you get that kind of diversity of experiences?

It’s clear that Dubai is on the right path. The city has a goal that is clearly laid out, and moves are being made to make it a reality. You can expect the numbers of UK and Ireland visitors to Dubai to continue rising, as well as visitors from similar Western countries. Given the already huge success of Dubai’s tourism sector, it will be interesting to see what it does next.

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