UAE climbs 7 places globally in WEF’s tourism index

The country ranks first globally in six indicators


Issac John

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Tourists at Global Village in Dubai.
Tourists at Global Village in Dubai.

Published: Sun 2 Jun 2024, 5:55 PM

The UAE secured the top rank in the Mena region and jumped seven places to 18th globally in the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) 2024 as it continues to make remarkable strides to emerge as the world’s best tourist destination by 2031.

In the TTDI report, the UAE ranks first globally in the travel and tourism data provision indicator and air transport infrastructure, second globally in infrastructure and services, and third globally in the travel and tourism data comprehensiveness, air transport services efficiency, and travel and tourism policy and infrastructure.

The country ranks first globally in six indicators and is among the top five in 15 others and the top 10 in 27. The UAE also achieved progress in a total of 32.

Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Emirates Tourism Council, said the UAE tourism continues to excel at the regional and international levels, achieving outstanding results that reflect the country's leading position in the global tourism and travel landscape.

“We expect our national tourism sector to continue its growth in 2024 in light of the pioneering tourism projects and initiatives implemented. This will be further supported by the UAE’s sophisticated infrastructure built per global best practices and outstanding tourism products and services that provide a unique experience for visitors and tourists.”

The minister said the accomplishments contribute significantly to achieving the targets of the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031, which aims to further the country’s position as the best tourist destination in the world by the next decade.

The UAE has set ambitious goals in its National Tourism Strategy 2031, aiming to position itself as a top global destination by 2031. The strategy aims to boost the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP by Dh450 billion, attract investments worth Dh100 billion, and welcome 40 million hotel guests annually by 2031. It also naturally plays into the Dubai Economic Agenda – D33

Hanan Ahli, managing director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), commended the success of the UAE in strengthening its position on the global tourism map as one of the most attractive and safe travel destinations. “This is the result of an effective and comprehensive strategy by the UAE under the directives of its wise leadership to enhance economic diversification,” she said.

The WEF index is a strategic measurement tool for companies, governments, international organizations, and others to advance the travel and tourism sector.

The UAE tourism sector grew by 26 per cent in 2023 compared to 2022 and surpassed 2019 levels by 14 per cent. Its contribution to the country's GDP amounted to Dh220 billion, equivalent to 11.7 per cent. Its contribution to the national economy is expected to rise in 2024 to Dh 236 billion, accounting for 12 per cent of the GDP, according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC.)

The Middle Eastern Travel & Tourism sector grew by 25 per cent in 2023 to reach almost $460 billion. Jobs reached nearly 7.75MN and international spending grew by 50 per cent to $179.8 billion. Domestic visitor spending grew by 16.5 per cent to more than $205 billion.

WTTC is forecasting that Travel & Tourism across the region will continue to grow throughout 2024 with the GDP contribution set to reach $507 billion. Jobs are forecast to reach 8.3 million, international visitor spending is forecast to reach $198 billion, and domestic visitor spending is expected to reach more than $224 billion.

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