In brief


Dubai plans bigger airport in 2030s

Dubai Airports is forging ahead with its plans to replace the world’s busiest airport, Dubai International (DXB), with an even bigger one in 2030s as passenger traffic soars to record high, outstripping the pre-pandemic levels, said a top official.

Designs were being drawn up for Al Maktoum International Airport, which will be built on the city’s outskirts and should replace Dubai International in the 2030s, Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths told Agence France Presse news agency, on the sidelines of the ongoing Dubai Airshow.

“Once we’ve reached about 120 million (passengers a year) – which is what we think our total capacity at DXB (Dubai International) is at the absolute maximum with everything optimised – we are going to need a new airport. That is going to have to happen at some stage during the 2030s,” stated Griffiths.

This comes as the Dubai Airports projected DXB’s annual passenger traffic to reach 86.8 million, surpassing 2019 numbers as record-breaking figures were expected to continue in the final quarter of 2023.


Middle East tourist numbers to top 33m 

The number of leisure visitors to the Middle East region in 2023 is expected to reach 33 million, compared with 29 million in 2019, said the WTM Global Travel Report.

The research confirms that the strong performance from Saudi Arabia and the UAE is behind the Middle East tourism industry’s full recovery from the pandemic. The 13 per cent increase in tourist numbers this year means that the Middle East is the only region fully recovered from the pandemic in volume. When measured in dollar terms, the Middle East leads the way, in growth terms, with a 46 per cent increase in inbound spend compared with 2019, the report said.

The Middle East is also outperforming all other regions for domestic travel, which has grown by 176 per cent since 2019, albeit from a low base.


SCTDA hosted 10th edition of tourism fair

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairman of Sharjah Executive Council, the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) hosted the 10th edition of the Sharjah International Travel & Tourism Forum (SITTF) on November 22 at the Expo Centre Sharjah.

Held under the theme “Sustainable Tourism: The Way to Improvement”, the forum gathered experts from the travel and tourism industry, emphasising environmentally and socially responsible travel practices through a series of panel discussions and engaging workshops to further delve into the challenges and opportunities within the travel and tourism sector.

The forum featured notable keynote speakers, led by Abdalla bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, SCTDA Chairman, and others.


Miral plans expansion to Yas Waterworld

Miral, the leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences in Abu Dhabi, announced a 16,900 sqm expansion to Yas Island’s Yas Waterworld. Set for construction completion in 2025, the expansion will see the addition of 3.3 km of slide sections and is expected to grow guest capacity by 20 per cent through the addition of 18 new thrilling rides and attractions, taking the park total to more than 60 rides and experiences.

Once open, the park will include the UAE’s highest slide, as well as the GCC’s first amusement ride in a water park, that is integrated within a waterslide complex.

Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, Group CEO commented: “This expansion marks another addition to our world-class attractions and experiences on Yas Island, and a testament to achieving our vision of positioning it as a top global destination for entertainment and leisure. We are proud to be contributing to the development of Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem and economic diversification, while further enhancing its global appeal as a tourism hub.”