It is the eighth year in a row that Dubai International Airport has been named the world’s busiest for international travel, surpassing London’s Heathrow and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson for global travelers.
29 million travelers had passed via Dubai in 2021. This demonstrates that Dubai is likely to continue being an important connection between East and West. International travel increased a bit in 2021, after taking a big hit in 2020 due to the onset of the Covid pandemic.
There is a 12% rise in 2021 passenger traffic compared to the 2020 figure of 26 million travelers. Still, with 29 million people passing through Dubai Airport, the overall number hasn’t surpassed the pre-pandemic level of 86.4 million yearly traffic of 2019.
Dubai is currently hosting the six-month-long World’s Fair, which was delayed by a year due to the pandemic. Expo 2020, which opened in October and runs until the end of March, has attracted millions of visitors as well as heads of state, royalty, and celebrities, helping to further cement Dubai’s reputation as a global destination. It’s unclear, though, what the overall contribution of the Expo has been to Dubai’s economic recovery.
CEO of Dubai Airports, Paul Griffiths, said DXB forecasts 57 million travelers to come through the airport this year in 2022, and full recovery to pre-pandemic figures by 2024.
“Dubai has done such a good job in reassuring travelers. It’s a safe city to visit and to come and holiday and do business. So I think the actual trends to recovery are very encouraging, indeed,” Griffiths said.
In 2021, India had the major share of tourism to Dubai, with around 4.2 million visitors, followed by Pakistan, with 1.8 million visitors. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is home to 100,000 British nationals. The main airport in Dubai received 1.2 million passengers from the United Kingdom.
Dubai’s airports were closed for around eight weeks in spring 2020 owing to Covid-19, however, they were swiftly reopened.
Dubai does not demand any documentation of a negative covid-test and welcomes all visitors. This did not sit well with many other nations, thus the UAE was designated as a “do not travel” country. While the Covid restrictions continue to be enforced in public locations in Dubai, life in the city might feel unaffected by the epidemic.