Dubai's main airport has raised its passenger traffic forecast for the year to 64.3 million following a strong recovery to pre-COVID levels in the previous quarter.

Prospects for the last quarter of the year look even better, the state-owned operator Dubai Airports said in a statement on Tuesday.

DXB, a major regional hub for international travel, handled near 18.5 million passengers in Q3, taking the year-to-date number to over 46 million. DXB had recorded 17.8 million passengers in the first quarter of 2020 prior to the pandemic.

Tourism arrivals in Dubai has bounced back to near pre-pandemic levels with the city receiving more than 10 million visitors from January to September, compared to 12.08 million in the same period of 2019, recent government data showed. Tourist arrivals this winter--traditionally the peak season for city--is set to benefit from a spillover surge from the more than 1.2 million fans expected to attend this month's FIFA 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

For DXB, India was the top country destination in terms of traffic volume for the first nine months of the year, with receiving 6.8 million passengers. 

Saudi Arabia was second with 3.4 million passengers followed by the UK (3.2 million passengers) and Pakistan (2.7 million passengers).

London was the top destination city by traffic with 2 million passengers, followed by Riyadh (1.5 million) and Mumbai (1.3 million).

(Reporting by Brinda Darasha; editing by Daniel Luiz)