Data from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) shows that the UAE is most popular tourism destination in the Arab world.
The UAE was rated as the most popular destination, ahead of countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Overall, the Emirate secured the 31st position in the world, ahead of Egypt ranked 32nd in the global list. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was ranked at 35th place. However, Turkey retained its position at 12th as the most favored tourism destination in the Middle East. The country recorded receipts of USD 25.7 billion from tourism.
The UAE recorded international tourism receipts of about USD 10 billion, including hotel revenues and air travel. Figures from the UAE National Council of Tourism and Antiquities (NCTA) reveal that the Emirate’s hotels and serviced apartments welcomed about 14.5 billion guests last year, earning revenues of Dh 21 billion.
Speaking at the UNWTO Ministerial Forum, Reem Al Hashemi, UAE Minister of State, said; “Tourism accounts for 14 per cent of our GDP, which is well above the global average of 9 per cent. Dubai is the most connected city in the world, connecting a third of the world’s population, according to the International Air Transportation Association. It connects 220 cities across the world and its airport is set to handle 66 million passengers this year.”
The UAE authorities remain confident of attracting even greater number of tourists in the coming years. The Vision 2020 clearly outlines how Dubai will double the number of annual visitors from 10 million in 2012 to 20 million in 2020, and triple the economic contribution of the tourism sector. Currently, the tourism sector contributes an estimated Dhs100 billion to the UAE economy.
During the past eight years, the number of tourists visiting Dubai each year has double from five to ten million. Dubai will be promoted not only to leisure travelers, but also as an event destination. Various seasonal festivals and other events are expected to boost the number of tourists to Dubai.