UAE Ready for Tourism Liftoff

The nation is aiming to position itself as a top global tourism destination by 2031

By Kushmita Bose

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Top Stories

An aerial view of Bluewaters Island and Ain Dubai Ferris Wheel in Dubai. In recent years, the UAE's tourism industry has experienced a remarkable surge, fuelled by ambitious development projects, innovative marketing strategies, and a commitment to providing unparalleled experiences to visitors from around the globe.
An aerial view of Bluewaters Island and Ain Dubai Ferris Wheel in Dubai. In recent years, the UAE's tourism industry has experienced a remarkable surge, fuelled by ambitious development projects, innovative marketing strategies, and a commitment to providing unparalleled experiences to visitors from around the globe.

Published: Fri 3 May 2024, 1:54 PM

THE UAE has emerged as a beacon of modernity, luxury, and cultural diversity in the Middle East. While historically known for its oil reserves, the UAE has strategically diversified its economy, with tourism becoming a key pillar of growth. In recent years, the UAE's tourism industry has experienced a remarkable surge, fuelled by ambitious development projects, innovative marketing strategies, and a commitment to providing unparalleled experiences to visitors from around the globe.

In 2024, the travel and tourism sector in the UAE is anticipated to sustain its rapid expansion, with its contribution to the country's GDP projected to surpass Dh236 billion ($64.25 billion), compared to Dh220 billion ($59.9 billion) in the previous year, as per a recent report.


According to the 2024 Economic Impact Research (EIR) by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the sector is poised to witness a rise of over 23,500 jobs, totaling nearly 833,000. The WTTC, in its UAE 2024 Economic Impact report, said last year that jobs supported by travel and tourism grew by 41,000 to reach more than 809,000, representing one in nine jobs in the country. “Although the jobs lost during the pandemic were fully recovered in 2022, today’s announcement shows sector jobs have increased 11 per cent since the 2019 high point,” said WTTC’s President and CEO, Julia Simpson.

“In 10 years, there will be about a million jobs in the travel and tourism sector, and it will likely be worth Dh275 billion. These include jobs in the hotel and hospitality sector as well as those in aviation, travel agents, online travel agents, and more,” she explained. International visitor expenditure is also predicted to grow by nearly 10 percent, reaching Dh192 billion, while domestic visitor spending is forecasted to increase by 4.3 percent, reaching almost Dh58 billion.Discover the preferences of upcoming travelers for their next accommodation and delve into the newest advancements in the hospitality sector at 'The Trends Shaping Hospitality at Arabian Travel Market this year. This year's edition focuses on 'Empowering Innovation and Developing the Travel Sector through Entrepreneurship,' emphasising the role of sustainable and innovative inventions in shaping the future of tourist destinations worldwide.


BREAKING RECORDS

The UAE's travel and tourism sector saw an exceptional year in the previous year, breaking records in vital areas like GDP contribution, employment, and visitor spending. In 2023, the industry achieved a remarkable growth rate of 26 per cent, adding a record Dh220 billion to the UAE's GDP, equivalent to 11.7 per cent of the total economy. This surpasses the previous record set in 2019 by nearly 15 per cent, highlighting the sector's pivotal position in the nation's economic landscape.

Tourist happy girl taking selfie photos for her travel blog, against background of the Future Museum. Dubai’s efforts to become a global tourism hub and attract more international tourists fall in line with the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031.
Tourist happy girl taking selfie photos for her travel blog, against background of the Future Museum. Dubai’s efforts to become a global tourism hub and attract more international tourists fall in line with the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031.

Celebrating a record-breaking year in 2023, Dubai further bolstered its ranking as the No.1 global destination for an unprecedented third successive year in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2024, the first city to achieve this unique accolade. The milestones are testament to the emirate’s vibrant and diverse offerings, supported by world-class infrastructure, exceptional service at all touchpoints, and continuous collaboration between the government and private sectors.

HOSPITALITY CONTINUES TO BOOM

The hospitality sector in Dubai is flourishing, with a notable rise in international tourists and hotel occupancy rates. In January 2023, the average occupancy rate in Dubai's hotels increased to 83 per cent from 80 percent, with occupied room nights experiencing a six per cent year-on-year growth to 3.84 million. Dubai’s efforts to become a global tourism hub and attract more international tourists fall in line with the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031.

This strategy aims to bolster the position of the UAE as one of the best destinations in the world, with a target of welcoming 40 million hotel guests annually by 2031. Dubai is also on track to open 31 new hotels in 2024, bringing the total number of hotels in the emirate to 851, according to a new report from property consultant Cavendish Maxwell.

In 2023, the travel and tourism sector in the Middle East demonstrated robust growth, with a growth rate exceeding 25 per cent, reaching nearly $460 billion. Employment figures surged to almost 7.75 million, while international expenditure soared by 50 per cent to exceed $179.8 billion. Domestic visitor spending also experienced a notable increase of 16.5 per cent, surpassing $205 billion.

Looking ahead, WTTC predicts sustained growth in the region's travel and tourism industry throughout 2024. Projections indicate that the GDP contribution will climb to $507 billion, with employment expected to reach 8.3 million. International visitor spending is forecasted to hit $198 billion, while domestic spending is anticipated to exceed $224 billion.

— kushmita@khaleejtimes.com



More news from Business Technology Review