With nearly 29 million people passing through the global gateway last year, Dubai’s major airport announced Tuesday that it has retained its title as the world’s busiest for international travel.
The passenger numbers for 2021 are optimistic for Dubai’s tourism-driven economy, which is seen as a vital link between East and West.
The figures show that international travel has increased since the coronavirus epidemic in 2020, which resulted in unprecedented worldwide lockdowns and border restrictions. In comparison to 2020, which saw approximately 26 million passengers, last year’s statistic indicates a 12 percent rise in traffic at Dubai International Airport.
Despite the fact that 29.1 million people passed through Dubai International Airport, or DXB, last year, the statistic is still low.
The six-month-long World’s Fair, which was postponed by a year owing to the epidemic, is presently taking place in Dubai. Expo 2020, which began in October and will end in March, has drawn millions of visitors as well as heads of state, nobility, and celebrities, enhancing Dubai’s status as a global destination. However, it’s unclear how much of a contribution the Expo made to Dubai’s economic recovery.
Last year, arrivals accounted for just over 70% of Dubai’s airport traffic, with the majority of those likely being locals going to and from the emirate. Approximately half of all passengers transited via Dubai prior to the epidemic.
According to Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, DXB expects 57 million passengers to pass through the airport this year, with a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
“Dubai has done a fantastic job of calming visitors. It is a safe city to visit, vacation in, and conduct business in. So I believe the actual recovery patterns are extremely encouraging,” Griffiths added.
Dubai Foreign Airport has clinched the title of world’s busiest for international travel for the eighth consecutive year, beating London’s Heathrow and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson for international travelers, despite the latter being among the busiest in terms of overall passenger traffic.
Last year, India accounted for the largest share of traffic to Dubai, with 4.2 million visitors, followed by Pakistan with 1.8 million visitors. Saudi Arabia, which is actively working to attract business and tourism in direct competition with Dubai and the wider United Arab Emirates, is a key growth market for travel to and from Dubai.
More than 100,000 British citizens live in the United Arab Emirates. Last year, Dubai’s main airport welcomed 1.2 million people from the United Kingdom, with 77,000 arriving in December alone.
In the spring of 2020, Dubai was compelled to stop all passenger aircraft and close its airports due to directives from the United Arab Emirates aviation authority. Unlike Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital, Dubai immediately reopened its doors to visitors.
To enter Dubai, no confirmation of COVID-19 immunization is necessary, and most venues do not require a negative virus test. This strategy has not been without its drawbacks. For much of last year, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries designated the UAE as a “do not go” country.
Griffiths explained, “What we’re now trying to do is campaign globally for the relaxing of travel restrictions and testing.” “However, we now see that the need for that is dwindling.
All we have to do now is convince governments to acknowledge this and act promptly to lift the remaining travel restrictions.”
Overall, coronavirus infection rates in the UAE are still rather low. The country has been aggressive in immunizing its population of about 9 million people against COVID-19, the majority of whom are foreign residents who have all received the vaccine for free.
While masks are still compulsory in public locations in Dubai, the city-existence state’s can otherwise feel unaffected by the pandemic.
Novak Djokovic, a Serbian tennis player, competed at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships this week, his first competition since getting booted from Australia and missing the year’s opening Grand Slam event.