UAE Travel & Tourism Sector Ranks First in MENA Region

DUBAI - The UAE has bested 39 of all its regional peers and grabbed top honours in the new Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index for countries in the Middle East and Africa.

By Aneela Batool

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Published: Mon 16 Mar 2009, 12:46 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 9:43 PM

Worldwide, the UAE has moved up seven places in terms of its competitiveness in international tourism and now ranks 33rd among 133 countries surveyed, up from 40th last year, according to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report for 2009.

The UAE rose one place from 2008 to take the lead in the report’s rankings of 40 countries in the Middle East and Africa. Israel, Qatar and Mauritius followed at second, third and fourth place, respectively.

“Although the UAE is not enriched with natural and cultural resources, it has other competitiveness advantages in [the] travel and tourism sector.” The UAE ranked first in the region for its destination-marketing campaigns and third in terms of its priority for the government, said Hani Rashid Al Hamli, Secretary-General of the Dubai Economic Council.

The World Economic Forum’s travel and tourism competitiveness ranking is based on criteria such as infrastructure, technology, information and communication, price competitiveness, air and ground transport, and safety.

The UAE ranked fourth regionally in terms of its air transport infrastructure and 10th in having a positive attitude towards foreign travellers, said the report, which was issued on Saturday by the Dubai Economic Council, an advisory body in the emirate.

The UAE saw a sharp improvement in the worldwide category of rules and regulations for travel and tourism, jumping from 81st place last year to 53rd place this year. The emirates also ranked 14th for safety and security.

“The travel and tourism sector has played a vital role in promoting economic growth and development at the global level,” Al Hamli said.

He said the industry contributes to employment, boosts national income, and improves the national balance of payments.

“The government is prioritising this sector and aiming to make Dubai the number one tourist destination internationally. Therefore, Dubai today is known as the most attractive family and luxury tourist destination,” claimed Adel Al Falasi, Executive Director of the Dubai Competitiveness Council. Al Falasi’s agency is the operational arm of the Dubai Economic Council.

Switzerland, Austria and Germany were the top three countries in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index.

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