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Tourism boom continues; sector to contribute 12% to the economy this year: Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri

Tourism boom continues; sector to contribute 12% to the economy this year: Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri
7 May 2024 13:49

Dubai (ALETIHAD)


The tourism sector is set to contribute 12% to the UAE’s GDP this year after a 11% contribution last year, said Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, at the Arabian Travel Market on Tuesday.

“According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), our tourism sector has been a dynamic force within our economy, contributing an impressive 11.7% to GDP [in 2023], amounting to Dh220 billion,” Al Marri said at the event.

“For 2024, the forecast is set even higher, with an anticipated contribution of 12% to the [UAE’s] GDP, equating to Dh236 billion,” he said.

The planned GCC Unified Tourist visa is expected to boost tourist numbers in the UAE and other Gulf countries, industry leaders at the travel event said during discussions.

This visa will drive tourist numbers across the region as infrastructure is being ramped up by countries.

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority, Azzan Al Busaidi, Undersecretary of Tourism at the Ministry of Heritage and Tourism in Oman, and Sarah Buhijji, CEO of the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority said inter-regional initiatives will power the GCC tourism industry and take it to the next level.

It is important to strike the right balance between collaboration and competition between destinations and nations, they said.

The speakers added that the travel industry should positively impact local businesses, communities and ecosystems, contributing to the long-term sustainability of tourism across the region.

The GCC, meanwhile, is investing in upgrading airports and cruise terminals, and the new unified visa could be a game changer for the tourism ambitions of the region.

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