UAE, Russia non-oil trade in past five years hits $14.1 billion - GulfToday

UAE, Russia non-oil trade in past five years hits $14.1 billion

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Abdullah Al Saleh, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade Affairs, said that the value of non-oil trade between the UAE and Russia over the past five years amounted to US$14.1 billion, while last year’s non-oil trade totalled $3.4 billion, compared to $2.5 billion in 2017, a growth of 36 per cent.

In an interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, Al Saleh stated that bilateral and economic ties between the UAE and Russia have witnessed significant overall growth, under the framework of their comprehensive strategic partnership announced last year.

He added that over 3,000 Russian companies are currently operating in the UAE, mainly in real estate, trade, manufacturing and telecoms, along with 576 trademarks and 25 registered commercial agencies.

Russia is a promising destination for Emirati investments, he stressed, noting that the UAE is ranked first among Gulf Cooperation Council countries, GCC, in terms of foreign direct investment, FDI flow in Russia, while Russian investments in the UAE exceed $2 billion.

He also pointed out that the UAE accounts for some 7.4 per cent of Russian exports to Arab countries, as well as for 7.7 per cent of Russian foreign trade with the Arab region.

Al Saleh highlighted the fact that the number of Russian tourists staying in Emirati hotels totalled 1.83 million in 2018, an increase of 37.4 per cent, or 788,000 new visitors compared to 2017, while the number of Russian visitors occupying hotels in the UAE in the first half of 2019 totalled 555,000.

The two countries have signed several agreements to reinforce their economic and trade cooperation in the areas of infrastructure, transport, vehicle manufacturing, petrochemicals and scientific research, he noted.

Expedia Group has released Q2 2019 tourism data showing more than a 55% increase in Russian tourists visiting the UAE, compared to the same period last year. The number of tourists from around the world visiting has significantly increased, leading to continued growth in the hospitality sector across the Emirates. Many Europeans, including Russians, are lured to experience the UAE’s world-renowned hotels, luxurious standard of living, famous restaurants, entertainment venues, attractions and entrepreneurial business opportunities that contribute to the region’s year-on-year growth in the hospitality sector.

Recent travel data[1] show that Dubai has welcomed 8.36 million international overnight visitors in the first six months (January-June) of 2019, including Russians, which saw a positive 3% in tourism volume growth compared to the same period last year. The data[2] also predict that Russian tourists travelling to the GCC will increase by 125% to 2.1 million in 2023, with a projected additional 2.9 million room nights likely to be added through the coming five years.

Factors contributing to this significant increase include initiatives undertaken by the UAE government to boost the country’s tourism industry. In recent years[3], the strengthened political relationship between GCC and Russia has led to the introduction of additional airline routes and relaxed visa regulations for Russian nationals. With several attractive and flexible business opportunities, GCC has lured many Russian businesses to its market. Furthermore, the UAE government has adopted integrated strategies and innovative solutions to promote sustainable tourism and highlight UAE’s diverse attractions & world-class facilities, furthering its position as a top tourist destination in the Middle East.

Paula de Keijzer, Senior Director Market Management, Africa, Indian Ocean, Middle East and Turkey at Expedia Group said, “As seen from the recent data, major hotel groups are driving construction trends across the country to meet the demands of an ever-increasing number of domestic and international tourists, including Russia. At Expedia Group, offer hoteliers, a revenue management tool, Rev+[4], free to all lodging partners that work with us, to make revenue management more accessible and level the playing field for the global hospitality industry and allow hoteliers to benefit from greater efficiency through the ability to make more informed decisions, ultimately driving increased revenue performance for the entire hotel.” Showcasing in the Mobility District of Expo 2020[5], the Russia pavilion promises to showcase Russia’s extensive knowledge in various fields and take visitors to the next level, where they will be able to experience the possibilities of tomorrow. This signals that Russia’s ties with the UAE and Russian tourism to the region shows no signs of slowing down as Russian visitors travelling to Dubai look set to peak during Expo 2020.

WAM/Agencies