Spending within the UAE’s travel and tourism sector is expected to rise steadily over the next five years and reach over $56 billion in 2022 as new mega projects come to market, analysis by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed.
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 per cent year on year in 2017 to reach over $42bn.
Source of growth
Growth within the UAE’s travel market growth will likely be supported by several recently announced projects, including Marsa Al Arab, a $1.7bn 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, 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 found that tourism and travel accounted for 12.1 per cent of the UAE’s GDP in 2016, or $43.3bn.
Leisure travel spending amounted to $31.31bn, or 77 per cent of UAE’s total tourism spending in 2016, while business travel accounted for 23 per cent, or $9.13bn.
Leisure travel spending increased at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 9 per cent since 2011, and business travel spending rose at a CAGR of 10.83 per cent over the same period.
The data also revealed that a total of 14.9 million leisure and business travellers visited the UAE in 2016, representing a 4.9 per cent 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 per cent in total arrivals during 2016, followed by the Asia Pacific region at 25.7 per cent, and Europe at 17.1 per cent.