UAE’s Travel and Tourism Sector Accounts for Approximately 10% of Total Economy, Report Reveals
UAE’s Travel and Tourism Sector Set to Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels, Contributing Dh180.6 Billion to the Economy in 2023
According to a recent report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the travel and tourism sector in the UAE is on track to reach its pre-pandemic peak this year. The report highlights that the sector is projected to contribute Dh180.6 billion to the emirate’s economy in 2023, nearing the 2019 high of Dh183.4 billion.
The recovery of the sector is primarily driven by the return of overseas travelers to Dubai and Abu Dhabi following the impact of the pandemic. The report also emphasizes that the travel and tourism sector represents nearly 10 percent of the total UAE economy.
The projected growth in the sector is expected to generate around 7,000 new employment opportunities this year, surpassing the pre-pandemic peak of 745,100 jobs. The number of people employed by travel and tourism companies is anticipated to exceed 758,000.
The travel and tourism sector in the UAE has demonstrated remarkable resilience, recovering swiftly in the post-pandemic period. The surge in demand for inbound and outbound travel, often referred to as “revenge travel,” has significantly contributed to the sector’s rebound. Dubai International (DXB), the world’s busiest international airport, witnessed a doubling of passenger traffic in 2022, with over 66 million passengers. As a result, DXB has raised its passenger traffic forecast for 2023 to 78 million.
During the first quarter of this year, DXB recorded a substantial 55.8 percent increase in passenger traffic, reaching 21.3 million passengers. Moreover, Dubai welcomed 4.6 million overnight tourists in the January-March period, indicating a 17 percent increase compared to the previous year.
Lauren Swan, a recruitment consultant at Cooper Fitch, stressed the importance for employees to maintain a professional image on social media platforms, particularly LinkedIn, as companies may request relevant social media profiles during security checks in the hiring process. While social media platforms can provide insights into individuals’ lives, it is not a common practice for most UAE companies to scrutinize or check employees’ social media accounts during the hiring process.
The WTTC report also predicts a significant increase in visitor spending, projected to rise from Dh164.5 billion in 2022 to Dh258 billion in 2023. Additionally, the report forecasts that the travel and tourism sector’s GDP contribution will reach Dh235.5 billion by 2033, accounting for 10.2 percent of the UAE’s economy.
Over the next decade, the sector is anticipated to employ more than 872,000 people across the country, representing nearly 12 percent of all jobs.
The strong performance of the travel and tourism sector in 2022 is reflected in its contribution to the country’s GDP, which grew by over 60 percent to nearly Dh167 billion, constituting nine percent of the UAE’s economy. Furthermore, the sector created over 89,000 additional jobs compared to the previous year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels by an additional 6,000 jobs.
India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the UK were among the leading source markets for international arrivals in the UAE in 2022. International visitors contributed Dh117.6 billion to the national economy, representing a year-on-year growth of 65.3 percent, albeit 19 percent below 2019 levels. Domestic spending also witnessed a significant increase of 35.7 percent year-on-year, reaching Dh46.9 billion, surpassing pre-pandemic levels by 10.6 percent.
The WTTC Cities Economic Impact Report highlighted that Dubai’s travel and tourism sector is projected to have reached Dh46 billion