In 2022, the contribution of travel and tourism sector to the UAE's GDP was nearly AED 167 billion, which was equivalent to 9 per cent of the total GDP. In the same year, international tourists spent AED 117.6 billion in the UAE. The number of hotels in the UAE increased to 1,189 and hotel capacity reached 203,000 rooms.
In Abu Dhabi, the total number of visitors reached 18 million, with an overall visitor satisfaction rate of 80 per cent and a hotel occupancy rate of 70 per cent. (Source: Annual Report 2022 of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi).
During January to March 2023, Dubai received 4.67 million overnight visitors. Find more details on tourism performance reports of Dubai.
In 2022, the number of hotel guests in Sharjah reached 1.4 million, with 66 per cent occupancy rate, as per SCTDA Annual Report 2022. Find performance reports, key performance indicators and hotel and guest information about the tourism sector in Sharjah.
Formation of Emirates Tourism Council
In January 2021, the UAE Cabinet approved the formation of Emirates Tourism Council with an aim to strengthen the tourism portfolio. This would be done by drafting a tourism strategy in line with the nation’s aspirations and the UAE Centennial 2071 and integrating all relevant local authorities and departments.
The council will be responsible for:
- suggesting and revising policies and legislations that will support the tourism sector and national tourism development plans
- supporting the growth of tourism industries
- attracting tourism investments
- suggesting economic incentives to encourage the growth of the sector
- establishing a comprehensive national tourism information database
- supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) involved in the tourism sector.
Members of Emirates Tourism Council include:
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Tourism and economy
In 2016, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP was AED 68.5 billion (USD 18.7 billion) which is equivalent to 5.2 per cent of the total GDP. It is forecast to rise by 5.1 per cent per annum from 2017 to 2027 to AED 116.1 billion (USD 31.6 billion) which would be equivalent to 5.4 per cent of the total GDP in 2027.
The total contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the UAE’s GDP was AED 159.1 billion (USD 43.3 billion) which is 12.1 per cent of GDP. It is forecast to rise by 4.9 per cent per annum to AED 264.5 billion (USD 72 billion) which would be 12.4 per cent of GDP in 2027.
The travel and tourism sector directly supported 317,500 jobs in the UAE which is 5.4 per cent of total employment. This is expected to rise by 2.4 per cent per annum to 410,000 jobs which would be 5.9 per cent of total employment in 2027.
The total contribution of travel and tourism sector to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 10.4 per cent of total employment which was 617,500 jobs. This is expected to rise by 2 per cent per annum to 770,000 jobs in 2027 which would be 11.1 per cent of total jobs.
Investment in the travel and tourism sector was AED 26.2 billion (USD 7.1 billion) which amounted to 7 per cent of the total investments made. It is forecast to rise by 11 per cent per annum over the next 10 years to AED 74.5 billion (USD 20.3 billion) in 2027 which would be 11.2 per cent of the total investments.
Source: World Travel and Tourism Council