Dubai is uniquely positioned on the world map that makes it an ideal destination for millions of tourists, both for new business setup and leisure. Maintaining a strong performance in terms of tourist volumes, Dubai welcomed a total of 15.8 million visitors in 2017 which is up by 6.2% than previous year.
This record breaking number of international travellers that flew into Dubai further cements Dubai’s position as one of the leading tourist capitals in the world. According to World Travel Awards 2017 for the Middle East, Dubai bagged the tile of top destination city in Middle East. According to Annual US News and World 2017 report, Dubai was placed at 10th position worldwide for tourists to visit.
Why Dubai attracts highest number of tourists?
Dubai is one of the fastest growing cities of the world. It was able to grab international spotlight as the most sought after travel destination due to rich cultural heritage, natural diversity and highly developed infrastructure that makes it a strong competitor on the world map.
People from around the globe flock to the shimmering oasis with one goal: to enjoy. And as a vacation spot, Dubai easily trumps other major travel destinations due to its gorgeous cream-colored Gulf shoreline, international culinary scene and larger-than-life attractions.
The city’s blend of tradition and modernity is also a factor. Even though Dubai has adapted a forward looking approach by constantly looking to the future, this city isn’t quick to let go of its past. It’s this dynamic that not only put Dubai on the tourist map but will also keep it there.
Plus, the fact that Dubai has world’s tallest building – Burj Khalifa and the world’s largest shopping mall-The Dubai Mall, also helped the city nab one of the top spots. Other super luxury hotels include the Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts, Desert Palm Dubai, and the Meydan Hotel.
Tourism contribution to UAE Economy
Tourism is now a core sector contributing to Dubai’s economy. Travel and Tourism sector represent 20% of Dubai’s GDP and accounts for 6% of total employment. In terms of overall contribution towards UAE, Dubai accounts for 66% of the tourism industry’s contribution to the GDP of UAE.
2017 came out to be the best year on record for the Travel & Tourism sector of UAE. According to a report by the World Travel and Tourism Council, titled Economic Impact 2018,
The total contribution of Travel & Tourism to UAE GDP was AED154.1bn (USD41,950.5mn), 11.3% of GDP in 2017, and is projected to increase by 4.9% i.e. Dh161.6 billion in 2018.
In 2017, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 9.5% of total employment (585,500 jobs). This is forecast to increase by 3.2% in 2018 to 604,500 jobs.
Investment in the UAE Travel & Tourism sector was Dh25.4 billion in 2017, which was 8% of total investment. This is expected to rise by 7.2 per cent in 2018.
Factors to fuel the growth of tourism sector in UAE
Dubai is actively pacing towards meeting its 2020 tourism targets which include attracting 20 million visitors per year starting 2020. For the EXPO 2020 alone, the city expects to have 25 million visitors, which is expected to increase demand for hotel rooms in Dubai.
To take advantage of tourist inflows, a second international airport, Al Maktoum International Airport, is under construction and could possibly be the world’s largest airport handling 160 million passengers by 2025.
There are constant innovations that keep the tourism sector on its double digit growth path, some of them being collaborations, new mega projects and unique concepts for leisure and entertainment offerings. The latest developments include newest beachfront district- La Mer, Etihad museum and major theme parks – IMG Worlds of Adventures and Dubai Parks and Resorts (DPR).
Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is planning to build 22 hospitals with the aim to attract 500,000 medical tourists per year and lift the economy up to AED 2.6 billion by 2020. Some trends that Frost & Sullivan expect to impact the tourism sector of Dubai will include: Halal tourism, middle-class tourism, medical tourism and smart and integrated tourism through IoT and robots.