Travel and Tourism Contributes $18.7 billion to UAE GDP

By May 31, 2017News

The direct contribution of Travel and Tourism to UAE’s GDP was Dh68.5 billion (US$18.7 billion), or 5.2 per cent of total GDP in 2016 and is forecast to rise by 3.2 per cent in 2017, and to rise by 5.1 per cent per annum from 2017-2027, to Dh116.1 billion (US$31.6 billion), 5.4 per cent of total GDP in 2027, according to a latest report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

“The total contribution of travel and tourism to GDP was Dh159.1 billion (US$43.3 billion), 12.1 per cent of GDP in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 2.9 per cent in 2017, and to rise by 4.9 per cent per annum to Dh264.5 billion (US$72.0 billion), 12.4 per cent of GDP in 2027,” WTTC said in its report. “In 2016 travel and tourism directly supported 317,500 jobs (5.4 per cent of total employment). This is expected to rise by 2.3 per cent in 2017 and rise by 2.4 per cent per annum to 410,000 jobs (5.9 per cent of total employment) in 2027.”

In 2016, the total contribution of travel and tourism to employment, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry was 10.4 per cent of total employment (617,500 jobs). This is expected to rise by 1.8 per cent in 2017 to 628,500 jobs and rise by 2.0 per cent per annum to 770,000 jobs in 2027 (11.1 per cent of total), said the global body.

Visitor exports generated Dh109.8 billion (US$29.90 billion), 8.1 per cent of total exports in 2016. This is forecast to grow by 3.3 per cent in 2017, and grow by 5 per cent per annum from 2017-2027, to Dh184.5 billion (US$50.24 billion) in 2027, 5.9 per cent of total.

Travel and Tourism investment in 2016 was Dh26.2 billion, or 7.0 per cent of total investment (US$7.1 billion). It could rise by 11.0 per cent per annum over the next ten years to Dh74.5 billion (US$20.3 billion) in 2027, 11.2 per cent of total 2027, WTTC said.

“According to the Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Dubai Government’s tourism regulatory body, the emirate will need to add 40,000 hotel rooms to the existing hotel inventory of 100,000 hotel rooms and hotel apartments in less than three and a half years – which is more than 13,000 additional rooms per year till the Expo 2020 starts,” Avin Gidwani, CEO of BNC Network – a project tracker, says. “That’s why major project developers are racing against time to expand the hotel inventory in the emirates as well as introduce new and innovative hospitality concepts in the market.”

Nakheel, the Dubai Government-owned property developer, has signed a Dh136 million hotel at Dubai’s Dragon City – its second such project within the same development.

With a total project value of Dh176 million, the 304-room Premier Inn is one of 16 hotels in Nakheel’s Dh3 billion hospitality portfolio and part of a huge new master plan that is transforming Dragon City into a giant retail, residential and recreational complex of more than 11 million square feet.

The contract was signed two weeks after Nakheel awarded a construction contract worth Dh184.5 million for a second hotel at Ibn Battuta Mall. The 375-room hotel has a total project development value of Dh240 million. The company is developing two new hotels at the first two of the four Deira Islands – where 128 hotel plots have been sold to investors for the development of hotels and serviced apartments. Nakheel has kept four plots to itself for resort hotels.

Recently Meraas, a Dubai-based master property developer, has announced a major foray into the hospitality sector, with the launch of four hotel brands – Evado, Re Vera, Vivus and MQ, that will strengthen the UAE’s home-grown hospitality sector and compliment the growth of the tourism sector. The group has also said it will open two of its hotels – Re Vera and Vivus, on Bluewaters Island, a short hop from Ain Dubai, the world’s largest observation wheel, in 2018.

Schon Properties, a Dubai-based developer, recently announced a deal with Al Hamad Group to deliver 2,550 branded hotel apartments under iSuites – a Dh3.2 billion hospitality development –at Dubai Investment Park. These are some of the projects that reflect the development activities in the hospitality sector.