The UAE travel and tourism sector is expected to create 245,000 jobs directly by 2023, registering an annual growth rate of 4.1%, according to the latest research analysis released by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The analysis also found that capital investment in the sector is expected to rise annually by an average of 4.5%, to reach Dhs143.4bn in 2023. This would increase travel and tourism’s share of the UAE’s total private investments to about 23.2%, up from 22.8% in 2013.
The UAE is ranked the 28th among 139 countries and 1st in the Middle East in the World Economic Forum’s “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013″. Dubai plays a lead role, holding a 66% share of the UAE’s tourism economy, with Abu Dhabi having 16%, and Sharjah 10%.
Dubai Tourism and Travel Industry
The performance of Dubai tourism related sectors such as ‘restaurants and hotels’ and ‘transport and communication’. In 2012, the restaurants and hotels sector was the highest growing sector in Dubai’s economy, registering 16.9% annual growth rate. The sector also witnessed an increasing percentage share reaching about 4.5% in 2012, compared to 3.4% in 2008.
In 2012, Dubai transport and communication sector had 14% share in Dubai GDP rising from 12% in 2008. The sector also witnessed relatively robust annual GDP growth rate of about 7.3% up from -0.9% in 2008. However, part of the transport and telecommunication sector value added can be related to the tourism sector. Meanwhile, the total number of hotels in Dubai reached 406 hotels in June 2013, registering an annual growth rate of about 4% compared to the same month in 2012, based on data from Dubai Statistics Centre.
Based on the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2012 the estimated total value added generated by the UAE travel and tourism sector either directly or indirectly, reached about Dhs193.6bn compared to Dhs176bn in 2011, approximately accounting for 14.3% share of GDP. The UAE travel and tourism sector value added percentage share is expected to reach about 16.4% of total GDP and to register an average annual growth rate of 5%, to reach Dhs325.4bn by 2023. Based on the same study, the UAE travel and tourism sector GDP in 2011 was larger than that of the education, automotive manufacturing, and chemicals manufacturing sectors. In terms of its direct GDP, travel and tourism is slightly smaller than the size of the financial services sector in the UAE.
In 2012, the estimated total contribution of UAE travel and tourism to employment was 383,500 jobs, representing 11.3% of total employment, as compared to 363,100 jobs in 2011. This is forecast to increase by 2.6% in 2013 to 393,500 jobs. Over the next 10 years, the sector is expected to create 245,000 jobs directly by 2023 registering average annual growth rate of about 4.1%. This includes employment by hotels, travel agents, airlines and other passenger transportation services; it also includes the activities of the restaurant and leisure industries directly supported by tourists. Benchmarking tourism and travel sector to other sectors employment, it is found that the sector directly employs more people than the auto manufacturing, financial services, communications, mining and chemical manufacturing sectors.
UAE travel and tourism sector is estimated to have attracted capital investment of about Dhs82.8bn in 2012. This value is expected to rise by 11.7% in 2013 and to grow annually on average by 4.5% over the next 10 years to reach Dhs143.4bn in 2023. Travel and Tourism’s share in the UAE’s total private investment is projected to rise from 22.8% in 2013 to about 23.2% in 2023.
Another important direct contribution of travel and tourism sector to the economy is tourism expenditure. According to WTTC estimates, by 2023 international tourist arrivals are forecast to total 25.8 million generating expenditure of Dhs207.1bn, an increase of 5% per year.
The UAE has identified tourism as one of the non-traditional products for export with high value that is aligned well with the country’s diversification strategy away from hydrocarbon sector. The main challenge is to achieve sustained growth which will entail developing new approaches to tourism market. The biggest economic transformation that the UAE and Dubai are witnessing with the expanding tourism activity will lead to increased consumers spending and necessitates investment booms in the buildings and infrastructure that is needed to be carried out with great efficiency to ensure lucrative returns while maintaining competitiveness.
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Ruba Abdel Halim
Manager, Public Relations & Corporate Communications
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