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02 October 2023

Dubai emerges favourite leisure destination for international celebrities

By Staff

Global football superstar Lionel Messi visited Dubai this week with his family to enjoy a break in the international premier league season.

The celebrated footballer, considered one of the world’s greatest players, visited some of Dubai’s most exciting attractions during his holiday. The Argentine football captain and Barcelona ace was also spotted with Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba sampling some of the city’s varied international cuisine.

Messi is one among a long list of global A-listers visiting Dubai to savour its unique leisure, lifestyle and cultural attractions. Egyptian star and Liverpool’s ‘golden player’ Mohammed Salah, along with his team-mates in the club Adam Lallana and James Milner, are also among the latest visitors to Dubai. Other celebrities who have holidayed in Dubai in the recent past include Hollywood star Will Smith, Brazilian football legend Pele, Grammy-nominated producer and artist DJ Snake, international singer Rihanna, and Hollywood actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez.

Photos: Emarat Al Youm

The growing number of celebrity visits signifies Dubai’s rising status in the world luxury tourism map. In September, Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index (GDCI) 2018 ranked Dubai the world’s fourth most visited city for the fourth straight year. The city welcomed 15.79 million overnight visitors in 2017.

With a projected growth rate of 5.5 per cent, its global status is expected to grow further rapidly. The latest figures show that in the first six months of 2018, Dubai has already attracted a record 8.1 million arrivals.  

Dubai has also topped the list of global cities with the highest international overnight visitor spend for the third year in a row, featuring total international visitor spending of $29.7 billion in 2017.

Photo: Instagram

In addition, Dubai was ranked as the second-best city in the world for luxury travelers, a close second behind Paris. Over 3 million survey respondents on the travel site Luxury Hotel Guide voted for Dubai in the survey.

Global celebrities, both from the world of sport and entertainment, are attracted by some of the world’s best lifestyle experiences offered by the city. All this is backed by its air transport infrastructure ranked among the planet’s best. Dubai is one of the most connected cities in the world, exemplified by the fact that over 90 million passengers are expected to use Dubai International Airport in 2018.

The city’s reputation as one of the world’s most secure destinations is another major draw. The UAE was ranked as the second safest country in the world, beating popular holiday destinations like France, Italy, Singapore, the US and Thailand by UK-based Which? Travel magazine.

Dubai offers an unbeatable depth and breadth of experiences to the global traveller. The city has a dazzling array of luxury hotels, from beach-side resorts built with stunning Arabian-themed architecture to some of the most vibrant lifestyle hotspots featuring experimental restaurants and eclectic entertainment. Visitors also have the opportunity to enjoy a delightful assortment of shopping districts and theme parks. Thousands of visitors from across the world flock to its mega themed entertainment destinations like Dubai Parks and Resorts and IMG Worlds of Adventure.  

However, it is not just the luxury offerings that have made celebrities fall in love with Dubai. From culture and the arts to history and heritage, Dubai offers an authentic experience that the global traveller cannot get elsewhere. The city is revitalising some of its historic neighbourhoods to offer tourists a flavour of Old Dubai. One such development, Al Seef, bridges the gap between the old and new, recreating experiences rooted in local cultural and heritage.

Adrenalin-junkies have a whole array of adventure opportunities to enjoy including desert dune bashing, camel riding or skiing in indoor snow slopes. Furthermore, the incredible diversity of cultures that Dubai is home to – over 200 nationalities consider Dubai home – makes the city a microcosm of the world.

By 2025, the Dubai Tourism Strategy aims to make the city the most popular tourism destination on the planet, attracting between 23 million and 25 million visitors a year. Expo 2020 alone, meanwhile, is expected to attract 25 million visitors, 70% of which will be from outside the UAE.

Over the coming years, the emirate is set to launch new development plans, initiatives and projects that will cement its position as a preferred tourism destination for millions of tourists. The best of Dubai’s tourism offerings is yet to come.