UAE among world’s top 20 tourist destinations as per ForwardKeys’ findings


The UAE and Qatar are the only Middle Eastern countries to make it into the top 20, with the UAE 17% behind 2019 levels and Qatar 25% behind

The UAE has been ranked among the top 20 best-performing tourist destinations this year according to data from flight and travel intelligence firm ForwardKeys.

The nation landed the 11th position in the latest ranking released by the company, which looked at international tourist arrivals in various markets around the world. The number of tourist arrivals into the country, however, is still 17% behind 2019 levels.

In its ‘Most Visited Destinations’ report for 2022, ForwardKeys said the Middle East has stood out for helping accelerate recovery through hosting major global events, such as Dubai’s EXPO 2020, the FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar, as well as the Formula One Grand Prix.

In September 2022, Knight Frank said the UAE’s hotel development pipeline would grow to 48,000 keys by 2030 and, in October 2022, Knight Frank predicted Qatar’s hospitality sector would grow by 89% by 2025.

The report, which is based on arrivals so far in for the year, as well as bookings for the remainder of 2022, showed the countries coming closest to matching pre-pandemic levels.

The top spot was taken by the Dominican Republic, which is the only country in the global top 20 to exceed pre-COVID-19 levels, with arrivals 5% above 2019.

Turkey’s arrivals in 2022 will equal 2019, the firm said, as will Costa Rica and Mexico, while Jamaica and Pakistan will both see arrivals 5% below pre-pandemic levels, according to the data, which was published in partnership with the World Travel Market (WTM).

In late October 2022, Qatar Tourism announced over two dozen new tourist facilities ahead of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The UAE and Qatar are the only Middle Eastern countries to make it into the top 20, with the UAE 17% behind 2019 levels and Qatar 25% behind.

ForwardKeys also found that, taken as a separate entity, Dubai was one of three Middle Eastern cities to make it into the top 25, with arrivals 15% behind pre-pandemic levels, and Cairo and Riyadh, which were both 18% behind.



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