Spending within the UAE’s travel and tourism sector is expected to rise steadily over the next five years and reach over US$56 billion in 2022 as new mega-projects come to market, a recent analysis conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows.
The analysis, based on new data from Business Monitor International, BMI, and the World Travel and Tourism Council, WTTC, revealed that total spending in the sector is predicted to increase 4.5 percent year-on-year in 2017 to reach over $42 billion.
Growth within the UAE’s travel market growth will likely be supported by several recently announced projects, including Marsa Al Arab, a $1.7 billion mega tourist resort near the Burj Al Arab, the new IMG Worlds of Legends theme park, a Formula One theme park at Dubai’s Motor City, and Six Flags at Dubai Parks and Resorts, in addition to a number of planned shopping malls and cultural venues.
These mega projects fall in line with Dubai’s preparations to host Expo 2020, diversify the emirate’s mix of leisure and entertainment offerings, and accommodate 20 million visitors in the city by 2020.
The data revealed that tourism and travel accounted for 12.1 percent of the UAE’s GDP in 2016, or $43.3 billion. Leisure travel spending amounted to $31.31 billion, or 77 percent of UAE’s total tourism spending in 2016, while business travel accounted for 23 percent, or $9.13 billion. Leisure travel spending increased at a compound annual growth rate, CAGR, of over 9 percent since 2011, and business travel spending rose at a CAGR of 10.83 percent over the same period.
The data also found that a total of 14.9 million leisure and business travellers visited the UAE in 2016, representing a 4.9 percent increase from the previous year. The number of visitors to the country has been growing steadily in recent years as source markets have diversified. The Middle East was identified largest source of visitors, with a share of 28.6 percent in total arrivals during 2016, followed by the Asia Pacific region at 25.7 percent, and Europe at 17.1 percent.
Established in 1965, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry is a non-profit public entity, whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai by creating a favourable business environment, supporting the development of business, and by promoting Dubai as an international business hub.