Dubai, owner of the world's biggest airline by international traffic, expects the economy to expand at a "relatively high rate" in 2013, driven by a tourism boom, a senior government official said.
Gross domestic product may grow more than 4 per cent this year, Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai Department of Economic Development, said in an e-mailed answer to questions. Figures for the first six months of 2012 point to growth of 4.1 per cent for the full year, he said.
"Hotel occupancy has already hit record high levels and the number of travelers and tourists has been higher than expected during the first two months of the year," Mr Al Qamzi said. The department also expects "the construction and real estate sector, which is already showing positive signs, to bounce back."
Dubai officials announced plans in November for a development boasting the world's biggest shopping mall and gardens larger than London's Hyde Park, as the emirate revives property projects on hold since a borrowing spree brought it to the brink of default in 2009.
Passenger traffic through the emirate's airport rose 13 per cent in 2012 to 57.7 million, making it the world's third-busiest, according to Dubai Airports. Emirates Group, which operates Emirates Airline, posted a 68 per cent increase in first-half profit.
"Trade, transportation and logistics have played a key role in growth acceleration," Mr Al Qamzi said. Trade volume at Jebel Ali Port probably rose more than 5 per cent in 2012, he said.
* Bloomberg news