H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, visited the 30th edition of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition, which was held at the Dubai World Trade Center recently. During the visit, H.E. emphasized that the UAE, following the vision of its wise leadership, has made significant strides in developing its tourism policies and infrastructure in accordance with global best practices. This was achieved through the launch of national initiatives and strategies that are specifically designed to propel the sector’s growth, directing investments to various tourism-related areas, building tourism projects in all emirates, and opening new airports.
In addition, the UAE has continuously expanded its air connectivity network in collaboration with strategic partners from around the world. Supporting this further is the expansion of the transportation network within the country, which adds to the quality of tourism sector services. A combination of all these factors has significantly strengthened the UAE’s position on the regional and global tourism landscapes and indicators.
Elaborating on top rankings and accomplishments achieved by the UAE’s tourism sector in the year 2022, H.E. stated that the country’s hotel facilities received 25 million guests in 2022, up 30 per cent from 2021. Besides, the number of tourism nights rose to 91 million in 2022 with an 18 per cent growth. As a result, hotel revenues also grew by 35 per cent to reach AED 38 billion while hotel occupancy rates went up to 71 per cent across a total of 1,198 establishments, which is one of the highest globally.
H.E. Bin Touq said: “The UAE’s hospitality sector continues to grow, as it accounted for 18 per cent of the total number of hotel rooms contracted in the MENA region with a total of 223,000 rooms. According to a report by Knight Frank, the number of hotel rooms in the UAE is set to grow by 25 per cent by the year 2030, adding 48,000 new hotel rooms to the existing count. The UAE was also able to maintain its position among the 12 top travel destinations in the world as it attracts over 10 million visitors every year.”
Furthermore, the Minister of Economy highlighted the outstanding results of the first, second and third editions of the ‘World’s Coolest Winter’ campaign, which boosted domestic tourism movement in the country. As a result, hotel revenues rose to AED 1.8 billion during the campaign’s third edition indicating a 20 per cent growth from AED 1.5 billion generated by the second edition. The third edition of the campaign raised the number of domestic tourists to 1.4 million, reflecting an eight per cent growth compared to the results of the previous edition.
H.E. added: “Tourism is a major driver of the UAE’s sustainable economic development, as its contribution to our national GDP reached 6.4 per cent in 2021, employing more than 644,000 people across the country. It contributed more than AED 177 billion to the national GDP.”
Moreover, H.E. indicated that the added value of activities related to hospitality services, hotels and restaurants accounted for the highest growth in terms of their contribution to the GDP at constant prices in an unprecedented manner, at 31.3 per cent in H1 2022, compared to the same period in 2021. The transport and storage sector also grew by 26.8 per cent, benefiting from the rise in the number of passengers on international flights and the growth in global aviation sector revenues, leading to the highest growth witnessed by this tourism-related sector in H1 2022.
H.E. Bin Touq briefed the exhibition’s participants on the UAE’s efforts to promote sustainable development of the tourism sector, in addition to the National Tourism Strategy 2031, which includes 25 sector-specific initiatives and policies. The strategy aims to raise the UAE’s status as the best tourism identity globally and solidify its position as a leading tourism destination that relies on tourism diversity by leveraging the unique characteristics of all seven emirates that make up the nation. It also aims to increase the sector’s contribution to the national GDP to AED 450 billion and attract tourism investments worth AED 100 billion to the country, along with 40 million hotel guests, all by 2031. These efforts will enhance the country’s efforts to provide an attractive and safe national tourism environment, and offer innovative and integrated services, diverse and unique destinations, supported by advanced tourism infrastructure.
H.E. pointed out that the country’s declaration of 2023 as the ‘Year of Sustainability’ will enhance concerted national efforts to accelerate the pace of sustainable transformation of the country’s travel, tourism, aviation, and transport sectors, in line with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.
He added: “The Ministry of Economy is keen to implement the UAE’s circular economy strategy 2031, along with other policies and initiatives that drive the comprehensive and sustainable development of the country by encouraging investment and expansion in new economy sectors. We are currently working alongside our partners in the government and private sectors to implement 22 circular economy policies within four key sectors, which are manufacturing, food, infrastructure, and transportation. The Ministry also supports the implementation of the Emirate of Umm Al Quwain’s strategy for sustainable blue economy 2031, which aims to enhance the emirate’s attractiveness for investments while also developing its natural, cultural and human resources.”