Dubai has retained its global ranking for attracting tourism foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2021.
With AED 6.4B (USD 1.7B) in FDI across 30 FDI projects during the year, Dubai ranked number one in FDI capital, projects and job creation in the tourism sector in 2021, according to The Financial Times’ fDi Markets data, a leading global data source on cross-border greenfield FDI investments.
The city rankings of ‘fDi Markets’ are based on investment destinations that attract 10 or more greenfield FDI projects in a year. Dubai’s tourism sector attracted AED 6.4 billion (USD 1.7 billion) in FDI across 30 FDI projects in 2021.
The new investments and projects generated 5,545 new jobs during the year, according to the Dubai FDI Monitor report, published by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).
The year also marked a successful five-year period during which Dubai stayed ahead of leading international cities, including London, Paris and Shanghai, in attracting FDI into tourism. Dubai’s tourism sector attracted AED 83.5 billion (USD 22.8 billion) in FDI capital across 205 FDI projects during 2017-21, generating 30,082 new jobs.
The strong investor interest in Dubai’s tourism sector complemented Dubai’s net gains as an investment destination in 2021. The value of total FDI capital flows into all sectors in Dubai exceeded AED 26 billion (USD 7B) from 618 announced FDI projects in 2021, with a growth rate of 5.5 percent compared to 2020.
Fahad Al Gergawi, CEO of Dubai FDI, said the sustained flow of international investments into tourism reinforces Dubai’s status as a magnet for global talent. “Dubai’s top ranking in terms of jobs created by FDI into tourism proves that the exemplary investment environment developed by the city will continue to attract, retain, and grow financial as well as human capital.”
The emirate’s infrastructure, business-friendly policies and flexible regulatory environment that kept pace with the needs of global investors have kept it at the forefront of the world’s FDI destinations.
This remarkable FDI performance capped a momentous year for Dubai. In 2021, the city led a resurgence in global travel and tourism after Covid-19, celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the UAE and welcomed the world to Expo 2020 Dubai while emerging as one of the safest destinations in the world.
On the same level, Dubai welcomed 6.17 million international overnight visitors from January to May 2022, a 197-percent year-on-year (YoY) increase from the same five-month period in 2021, which saw the destination attracting just over two million international travelers.
The latest tourism data was revealed by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) at its first “City Briefing” for 2022, a biannual event that provides an in-depth industry outlook to stakeholders and partners, and discusses future strategies to further reinforce the city’s position as a global hub for business, investment, talent and tourism. The event was attended by more than 1,200 key executives from across the tourism ecosystem including aviation, travel, hospitality and retail sectors.
Dubai hotels maintained an average occupancy level of 76 percent from January to May 2022, compared to 62 percent during the corresponding period in 2021. According to data from hotel management analytics firm STR, Dubai ranked number one globally in hotel occupancy, ahead of other international destinations including New York (61 percent), London (60 percent) and Paris (57 percent) for the January-April 2022 period.
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “Dubai’s positive performance is also testament to the city’s resilience and the success of our recovery strategy. As we strive to leverage a robust domestic market and the growing international visitation, we are confident that the summer season will serve as an ideal launchpad to further accelerate momentum across the industry.”
Since Q4 2021, there have been over 200 million searches for travel to Dubai, and in May 2022, searches and bookings for the destination almost reached pre-pandemic levels.