In 2015, the number of outbound trips from the UAE reached 3.5 million, with a total spending of AED 71 billion.
The most important market for UAE travellers is Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), which accounts for 39 per cent of the trips. After that comes the UK with 7 per cent. Other key markets include Asian destinations such as Thailand, Malaysia and India, European countries including France, Germany and Switzerland, as well as the US and Australia.
One of the reasons for the increase in travel by the citizens and residents is the growing number of destinations served by the UAE's airlines.
Contribution of travel and tourism to the UAE’s GDP
According to the data released by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the total contribution of travel and tourism to the UAE’s GDP in 2017 was AED 154.1 billion (USD 41,950.5 million) which equates to 11.3 percent of GDP. The contribution is forecast to rise by 4.9 percent in 2018 and thereby to increase 3.8 percent annually to reach AED 234.2 billion (USD 63,776.4 million) which equates to 10.6 percent of GDP in 2028.
According to WTTC, the total contribution of travel and tourism to employment (including wider effects from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts) was 585,500 jobs in 2017 (9.5 percent of total employment). This is forecast to rise by 3.2 percent in 2018 to 604,500 jobs (9.7 percent of total employment).
Visitor exports are a key component of the direct contribution of travel and tourism. In 2017, the UAE generated AED 123.5 billion in visitor exports. In 2018, this is expected to grow by 5.3 percent and the country is expected to attract 21,273,000 international tourist arrivals.
Travel and tourism is expected to have attracted capital investment of AED 25.4 billion in 2017. This is expected to rise by 7.2 percent in 2018 and thereafter rise by 8.6 percent per annum over the next ten years to reach AED 62.1 billion in 2028. Travel and tourism’s share of total national investment will rise from 8.2 percent in 2018 to 11.2 percent in 2028.