According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the UAE realized over USD 64 billion from tourism alone. This figure is expected to double over the next decade.
The UAE was formed in 1971 and had a goal of economic diversification since its formation. The Arab countries had been known for oil export but they had a goal to become the leading trading center in the global landscape through diversification policies.
2014 saw the prices of oil fall which of course affected oil-exporting countries but the UAE government rose from the ruins like a phoenix demonstrating such a belief in their policies. So something good did come out of the falling oil prices – it impacted urgency in implementation that had not been there before.
Tourism is at the frontline of the UAE’s diversification policies and is essential to Dubai’s economic growth.
The WTTC report on the UAE nations showed a contribution of USD 36.43 to the GDP from tourism which increased by 4.4 percent in the next year.
The growing value that has seen the region attract even more tourists from all over the world.
The UAE invested in the tourism and hospitality sector a total of over USD 7.4 billion in 2015 to be able to see the results that it did. This amount was 7.3 percent of their total investments. The amount was expected to increase by more than 2 percent in the next year and consequently by 6 percent per annum over the next decade.
The UAE has shown a great commitment to becoming a leading tourist destination on the global landscape. The WTTC ranked it 28th out of 184 countries in 2015. In regards to its size and its contribution to the global GDP, the UAE was ranked 105th.
As of 2015, the tours and travels sector alone employed more than 300 000 people with the number increasing to over half a million in 2016. When the number of other jobs that are indirect as a result of the growth of the industry is factored in, the number increases to over 550 000 in 2015 and 578 000 in 2016. The number is expected to grow to more than 850 000 by 2026.
Individual Emirates countries such as Dubai have set for themselves very attainable goals towards the result. Dubai targets 20 million visitors by 2020. The year will also see it host for the first time in the Middle East, the World Expo, expecting more than 25 million visitors most of whom will be from outside the UAE.
The UAE expected over 30 million visitors by 2016 spending over USD 45 billion according to the WTTC report. In 2015, the visitors spend more than USD 26 billion.
In Dubai, 2015 saw a leisure tourist expenditure of USD 26.65 billion which accounted for 70 percent of the sector’s direct contribution to the GDP. The amount is expected to be at USD 47 billion by 2026. The business tourist expenditure was at USD 7.08 and is expected to be at USD 20.97 billion in 2026.
If the UAE keeps rolling out projects like it has been doing, it will exceed its targets and beyond.