With restrictions axed completely across much of the Northern Hemisphere, American travelers are once again taking to the skies in droves to make up for lost time after almost three years of enduring harsh travel regulations.
Now that Europe is overcrowded and the Global South is facing security issues, they seem to be favoring a certain Middle Eastern city, as it has become one of the most sought-after destinations globally, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and posting historical arrival figures.
You may be wondering why, considering Westerners often present reservations regarding travel in the Middle East, and it is not as popular as the Old Continent.
If you’re thinking Dubai, you hit the nail on the head.
Dubai Is The World’s Number One Tourist Destination
The largest city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has already welcomed 8.55 million guests between January and June 2023, 190,000 more than the pre-pandemic reference year of 2019, and it looks set to grow further.
As the Government of the Dubai Emirate reports, this positions Dubai as one of the world’s ‘top three cities’, and a ‘first-choice destination’ for global travelers, with a hotel occupancy rate of 78% for the last semester, ranked among the highest worldwide.
But what is Dubai’s appeal, you may be wondering?
A Futuristic Cityscape
Dubai is a newly-built metropolis, having sprung into relevance well into the late 20th century following the onset of oil extraction on the Persian Gulf and the UAE’s friendly foreign investment policies. It is an irrefutable 21st-century muse:
Unlike far older cities in Europe or the Americas, where strict architectural regulations must be observed by developers, and traditionalism often stands in the way of innovation, authorities in Dubai have spared no effort in making their city grander, more impressive, and more modern.
Whether it’s tall skyscrapers that rise up to the skies, offering breathtaking panoramas of the Emirate, or huge moon-shaped luxury resorts, Dubai keeps building on its concept of reinvention year upon year, asserting its status as one of the fastest-developing metropolis.
Every visit to Dubai feels like an entirely new experience, as you are unlikely to be greeted with the exact same cityscape or attractions when returning, irrespective of frequency.
The World Capital Of Luxury Vacations
Visitors are particularly fond of the city’s ‘accessible’ high-end tourism, commending its enviable collection of a whopping 198 Booking.com-listed five-star properties, some as cheap as $92 per night.
You can even be entitled to a free stay in Dubai when booking flights through the national carrier on specific dates of the year.
Though it is definitely not an affordable destination by any means, with a high cost of living and elevated prices in tourist zones, Dubai hosts visitors from all walks of life, from middle-income earners looking to splurge on an all-inclusive sunny getaway to wealthy vacationers seeking exclusivity.
In the latter case, they surely wouldn’t mind paying up to $806 for a Five Palm Jumeirah overnight.
Either way, guests will experience a high level of comfort and the city’s world-renowned customer service from the moment of departure when flying Emirates to their hotel séjour.
Other than Dubai’s luxurious accommodation options, it offers an extensive list of attractions for all categories of travelers.
If you’re a History buff, you can get lost in the Emirate’s charming Old Town, packed with narrow streets and traditional bazaars; on the other hand, shopaholics will find their nirvana in Dubai Mall, the largest in the world and perhaps the most luxurious shopping complex there is.
Are you a devoted foodie? Dubai won’t disappoint you.
With as many as 11 MICHELIN-approved restaurants and several more eateries specializing in both Middle Eastern and world cuisine, Dubai is Western Asia’s food mecca.
With over 13,000 restaurants and cafes scattered around the Emirate, representing the cuisines of over 200 ethnic regions, you’ll never run out of gourmet dining options sojourning in Dubai.
Beautiful Gulf Beaches
Last but not least, we shouldn’t forget about its gorgeous sandy beaches lining the azure Gulf, where the waters are incredibly warm year-round, and it’s always bikini weather (literally).
Unlike what many may think, Dubai’s dress code is quite relaxed, and foreign women are allowed to dress as they deem fit. Bikinis and short shorts are allowed as long as they stay within designated zones, such as resorts and their private beaches.
For guidance on what to wear or how to behave in public in Dubai, however, especially if you’re female, please refer to the local authorities and your accommodation provider.
Dubai Continues To Grow
Taking its diverse offer into account, as well as the quality of services provided, it’s no surprise Dubai is racing ahead of other international destinations, being crowned the number one global destination for the second year in a row in the Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards.
It is recognized for its wide range of attractions, which include heritage and entertainment, outdoor and beach activities, gastronomy, family-oriented experiences, shopping, business events, yachting and cruising.
As stated by His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, ‘these results further add weight to the depth, scale and resilience of Dubai’s tourism ecosystem‘.
Westerners are particularly valuable customers, with Western Europe surging as a ‘significant contributor’ to tourism arrivals, accounting for 20% of international visitation. Gulf and Middle Eastern countries make up a combined 28%, while the Americas added a further 7%.
Dubai as a tourist destination is still on the rise years after the initial development boom, and it’s unlikely to scale back anytime soon.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com