Tourism and economy
In 2016, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP was AED 68.5 billion (USD 18.7 billion) which is equivalent to 5.2 per cent of the total GDP. It is forecast to rise by 3.2 per cent in 2017 and to rise by 5.1 per cent per annum from 2017 to 2027 to AED 116.1 billion (USD 31.6 billion) which would be equivalent to 5.4 per cent of the total GDP in 2027.
The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP was AED 159.1 billion (USD 43.3 billion) which is 12.1 per cent of GDP. It is forecast to rise by 2.9 per cent in 2017 and to rise by 4.9 per cent per annum to AED 264.5 billion (USD 72 billion) which would be 12.4 per cent of GDP in 2027.
The travel and tourism sector directly supported 317,500 jobs in the UAE which is 5.4 per cent of total employment. This is expected to rise by 2.3 per cent in 2017 and then to rise by 2.4 per cent per annum to 410,000 jobs which would be 5.9 per cent of total employment in 2027.
The total contribution of travel and tourism sector to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 10.4 per cent of total employment which was 617,500 jobs. This is expected to rise by 1.8 per cent in 2017 to 628,500 jobs and rise by 2 per cent per annum to 770,000 jobs in 2027 which would be 11.1 per cent of total jobs.
Investment in the travel and tourism sector was AED 26.2 billion (USD 7.1 billion) which amounted to 7 per cent of the total investments made. It is forecast to rise by 11 per cent per annum over the next 10 years to AED 74.5 billion (USD 20.3 billion) in 2027 which would be 11.2 per cent of the total investments.
In 2016, 4,440,314 guests stayed in hotels in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. This is 8 per cent more than the earlier year.
In the emirate of Dubai, there were 14.9 million overnight visitors. This is 5 per cent more than the earlier year.
The emirate of Sharjah welcomed 1.8 million guests into its accommodation sector. This is 17 per cent more than the earlier year.
The emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is targeting a million visitors by 2018 (Gulf News), by when it will need an additional 4,000 rooms and 3 million visitors by 2025, by when it will need an additional 20,000 to 25,000 rooms.
The UAE has launched several initiatives to boost the travel and tourism sector. Some of the initiatives are listed below.
Sustainable tourism development in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority works towards the sustainable tourism development of the emirate. This involves:
- Preparing the annual Sustainability Report
- Launching and implementing 'green' tourism and hotel initiatives
- Holding environment-related exhibitions and conferences.
Dubai Tourism Strategy 2020
Read about Dubai Tourism Strategy 2020.
Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021
Read about Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021.
Ajman Strategic Plan for Tourism 2015-2021
The mission of Ajman Strategic Plan for Tourism is the development and sustainability of its tourism sector in order to become the destination of choice for all types of tourists through effective strategic partnerships and continuous innovation. It will focus on:
- improving customer experience and providing value-added services
- enhancing sustainability and growth
- operational effectiveness
- empowered workforce in a creative work environment
- rational expenditures and optimal investment of financial resources.
Updated on 21 Aug 2017