UAE’s travel and tourism sector aims for a strong growth short term



UAE’s travel and tourism sector reported strong performance in 2013, according to the Economic Impact of Travel & Tourism 2014 Report published by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). In addition, the experts predict that the sector will demonstrate even more impressive growth this year. However, the country is ranked low when it comes to long-term growth prospects.

In 2013, the travel and tourism sector made up about 8.4% of UAE’s GDP. That is estimated at about AED 117.4 billion. The rise is expected to continue this year with a growth of 3.2% per annum or AED 167 billion. Similar will be the case with the industry’s direct contribution to the United Arab Emirates’ economy. While in 2013 it amounted to AED 56 billion, in 2014 it is said to increase by 4.7%.

The sector also played a main role in the country’s employment tendencies. According to WWTC’s report, UAE’s travel and tourism sector accounted to over 9% of the total employment of the country. In 2013, the industry contributed with a little under 300,000 direct jobs on the territory of the United Arab Emirates.

All in all, the travel and tourism in the UAE are developing and growing at a fast pace. Last year, investments in the industry reached AED 21 billion, which are predicted to further increase by 9.7% in 2014.

Much has been said and written about Dubai’s World Expo 2020 win. The emirate is planning to increase the number of visitors to 20 million a year by the start of 2020. However, the report predicts an unimpressive long-term growth for the United Arab Emirates. In fact, the WTTC ranks the country 149th out of 184 in terms long-term growth. It expects that UAE’s growth by 2024 will be around 3.2%. That is below the average for the Middle East region, which is set at 4.7%. In comparison, the long-term growth of the travel and tourism sector in Jordan is predicted at 5.3%, while that of Kuwait is estimated at 6.2%.

While this prediction is interesting, the WTTC does not offer many details to explain it. However, UAE’s slowdown might occur once the Expo is over.

As for the global travel and tourism industry, the WTTC has found that international tourists have spend 4% more in 2013. The number surpassed the prognosis of 3.1% rise in international tourism expenditure. Things, however, are quite different when it comes to domestic tourism expenditure. The World Travel & Tourism Council has even reduced its early prognosis of 3.2% for 2.9% for 2013.

South East Asia has witnessed the highest growth in 2013. Even though experts predicted that the region’s travel and tourism sector would increase by 6.8%, the final estimates are even more positive. The report shares that last year industry in South East Asia saw a rise of nearly 9%.

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