“This City is what it is because our citizens are what they are.”
The Arab Spring of 2011 had a major impact on tourism in the Middle East, especially in countries like Egypt, Libya, Syria and Tunisia. But now, after the installation of a new government, Egypt’s historical Nile Valley, the streets of Cairo, and the beaches of Sharm-al-Sheikh all wear a deserted look. With the present government’s conservative stance on tourism and cultural sensitivities, tourism in Egypt is at an all time low.
Dubai meanwhile was gearing up to an unprecedented influx of tourists as a result of the fallout from the Arab Spring. Tourists preferred Dubai for its thriving hospitality industry and luxurious ambiance, be it the larger than life Atlantis, or the Palm archipelago. The numbers are very encouraging. UAE’s hospitality market is likely to reach $7.5bn by 2016, up from USD 4.5 billion (67 percent increase) in 2011. A Dubai Chamber of Commerce study, supported by statistics published by Business Monitor International, puts UAE tourism sector growth at 6.5 percent, per annum, between 2011-2021, with visitors from the Middle East, Europe and Asia Pacific the key source markets. Employment growth prospects for the sector are also buoyant, with a forecast annual real growth rate of around 4.1 percent.
The rising traveler confidence in the safety and luxury of the UAE hospitality industry is due to the fact that Dubai and the other Emirates are going all out to attract tourism to the region. The Hello Dubai 2013 Campaign, as well as the Vision 2020 Campaign for Tourism, are testimony to the efforts of the government — investing billions of dollars for building exotic locales and entertainment sectors as a part of it’s tourist attractions. According to the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), which revealed it welcomed 2.3 million hotel guests to the emirate’s hotels and hotel apartments in 2012, representing a 13 percent rise on 2011 figures. Hotel revenues for the same period also increased by 6 percent to USD 1.261 billion.
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, reveals the fastest-growing inbound tourism markets show the interest in United Arab Emirates accommodations on the site.
The study shows that the U.S.A. is the fastest-growing major inbound tourism market for the United Arab Emirates with over 20 percent year on year growth in traveler interest on TripAdvisor, followed by Australia and the United Kingdom.
One-in-five travelers researching accommodations in the UAE on TripAdvisor is British.
Interest from UK travelers between March 2012 and March 2013, represented a fifth of all traffic to United Arab Emirates accommodation pages on TripAdvisor, highlighting the fact that British travelers are a vital source of tourism for the UAE.
Top 5 markets that travelers research on TripAdvisor:
(Based on overall user sessions March 2012 to March 2013)
1. United Kingdom
2. United Arab Emirates
3. United States
As well as leading the pack for overall sessions on TripAdvisor looking at holiday options in the United Arab Emirates, British travelers have also shown a 10 percent increase in interest year-over-year, taking into account natural growth in the market and across the world.
“Interest in United Arab Emirates accommodations on TripAdvisor overall has increased 15% year-on-year, confirming United Arab Emirates as a desired destination by travelers from around the world.
It’s encouraging to see a significant increase in traveller interest from international markets such as the United States, Australia and the UK. The growing interest from inbound markets will help accommodation owners define their marketing targets as they look to capture more attention from international travellers in 2013 and beyond. We encourage all owners to seize this opportunity by registering for their property on TripAdvisor and making the most of our online marketing tools.” — Dan Cross, Territory Manager Business Listings, Middle East and Africa, TripAdvisor for Business
Here’s an amazing video on Dubai Tourism from ITL World, a travel management company.