Picture used for illustrative purposes only.
The UAE is continuing to maintain its regional and international leadership as a distinguished travel destination and a preferred country for living and working.
Due to the directives of its leadership, the country witnessed progress in terms of outcomes and indicators, which confirmed its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country has strengthened its position on the world tourism map, becoming a leading international tourism destination and a top ten country in several international competitiveness indexes related to the tourism, travel and hotels sectors in 2021.
Emirati hotels attracted nearly six million visitors who spent 25 million hotel nights in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 10 per cent compared with the same period of 2019. Moreover, their period of stay in hotels grew by 25 percent during the same period, while the hotel occupancy rate was 80 percent, one of the highest internationally.
Hotels achieved earnings totalling Dhs11 billion in the first quarter of 2022, an increase of 20 percent compared to the same period in 2019. These hotels resumed activities at full capacity, totalling nearly 200,000 hotel rooms.
In terms of flights and hospitality, the number of passengers who arrived at the country’s airports exceeded 20 million in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 8.6 million in the same period of 2021, an increase of 135 percent.
The contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the country’s GDP over the past three years was 3.4 percent, totalling 15 percent compared to 11.6 percent in 2019.
These indicators underscore the growing confidence in the UAE’s tourism sector and its prominent local or international reputation, as well as the efficiency of its sustainable tourism policies and the success of its initiatives, campaigns and exhibitions aimed at supporting the tourism sector.
The Ministry of Economy and its partners from federal and local authorities, in collaboration with the private sector and tourism organisations, drafted a comprehensive national strategy to attract tourists and enhance the country’s stature as a sustainable tourism destination, with a focus on foreseeing the future, innovation and technology.
The internal tourism strategy complements the UAE’s national tourism development strategy, given its key role in attracting tourism-related investment and income and bolstering the tourism sector’s growth. The sector witnessed an increase in spending by local tourists in 2020 which stood at 33 percent, compared to 67 percent by international tourists. In 2019, spending by local tourists was at 22 percent, compared with 78 percent by international tourists.
One of the key features of the internal tourism strategy launched in 2020 is the marketing of major natural, cultural, heritage and historical attractions in the country, as well as developing the country’s tourism services, highlighting the beauty of the tourism experience offered by each emirate, and promoting recreational, cultural and community activities to improve the attractiveness of each emirate.
Tourism initiatives and programmes are a key part of the country’s internal tourism strategy. The World’s Coolest Winter Campaign was at the forefront of these initiatives, achieving outstanding successes around the country. The second edition of the campaign, which kicked off in mid-December 2021 and lasted till the end of January 2021, recorded proceeds totalling AED1.5 billion and attracted over 1.3 million visitors over 45 days.
The campaign highlighted the country’s environmental and sustainable tourism advantages and allowed visitors from all emirates to visit natural reserves, oases, mountains, islands and beaches to enjoy their biodiversity, while desert tourism featured interesting safaris.
As part of its efforts to diversify its sources of income and its strategic development plan, as well as to develop the tourism sector, the UAE launched a unified tourism identity that complements its visual media identity, to consolidate its global image and stature and unity efforts and energies to celebrate its success.
Expo 2020 Dubai attracted record numbers of tourists and tourism proceeds and highlighted the leadership of the travel, tourism, hospitality and entertainment sectors. The event successfully attracted over 24 million visitors over six months.
After Expo 2020 Dubai, Expo Dubai City will be opened in October 2022, which will make the country a new world-class destination and improve the national tourism environment, most notably in terms of business tourism.
In February 2022, the UAE witnessed the launch of a unique tourism milestone, the Museum of the Future, which is a historical icon that features various theatres and high-tech labs.