01 Dec 2022
UAE calls for strengthening cooperation to develop global tourism sector with innovative & sustainable policies
H.E. Bin Touq: The UAE has made great strides in developing its tourism product & strengthening its tourism infrastructure, which has contributed to solidifying the country’s position on the global tourism landscape
H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, led the UAE delegation to the 22nd World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit, which took place in Riyadh from November 28 to December 1.
H.E. said: “The UAE, led by its wise leadership’s vision, has made great strides in developing the country's tourism sector and strengthening supporting infrastructure, in line with its goals for the next 50. This has contributed to consolidating its position on the global tourism landscape, thus making it one of the thriving global tourism destinations. We see the tourism sector as one of the key pillars of global economies thanks to its pivotal role in supporting sustainable economic and social development efforts in countries around the world, especially as it offers many promising investment opportunities that can ensure the growth and resilience of the global economy in the face of current and future challenges.”
The Minister of Economy added: “Over the past ten years, the UAE has maintained its position among the world’s 12 best destinations and has succeeded in attracting more than 10 million visitors annually so that the tourism sector contributes more than AED 177 billion to the country's GDP. The hotel occupancy rate in the country is among the highest in the world at 72.8 per cent, and the number of hotel guests reached 12 million, with a growth rate of 42 per cent during the first half of 2022. The UAE was able to rank first in the Middle East in the Global Tourism Competitiveness Index 2021, and we look forward to the next stage to maximize the contribution of that vital sector.”
Moreover, H.E. Bin Touq reviewed the UAE's pioneering experience, its fastest recovery from the pandemic and entry into a new phase of sustainable economic growth, which exceeded pre-pandemic levels. It recorded a growth of 3.8 per cent in 2021, exceeding the expectations of global institutions to a large extent. He explained that the UAE, as usual, turned challenges into opportunities that enabled it to be the first country in the region to receive tourists during the Covid-19 pandemic. He attributed this achievement to the preventive measures taken to ensure the health and safety of tourists and to enhance the sustainability of the tourism sector as an important element of the national economy.
H.E. also drew attention to the UAE's world-leading experience in tourism development, reviewing the initiatives introduced by the country in this context. This includes the ‘Coolest Winter’ campaign, which achieved tremendous success by becoming the largest campaign to highlight diverse domestic tourism options across the UAE.
The first edition of the campaign succeeded in supporting the revenues of hotel establishments to reach one billion AED, and attracted 950,000 local tourists, while the second edition of the campaign, which ran from mid-December 2021 until the end of January 2022, generated AED 1.5 billion in revenues and attracted more than 1.3 million local tourists within 45 days.
Furthermore, H.E. reviewed the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031, which aims to enhance the country's position as one of the best global tourism destinations and enhance its competitiveness by attracting AED 100 billion as additional tourism investments and doubling the number of tourists to 40 million, with an expected total contribution of AED 450 billion to GDP by 2031. The ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision was launched by H.H Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, through which the government aims to double the gross domestic product from AED 1.49 trillion to AED 3 trillion and tourism will play a major role in achieving those ambitious targets.
In addition, H.E. Bin Touq called for strengthening cooperation for the development of the global tourism sector through innovative and sustainable policies, and maximizing the role of innovation in tourism development policies, which in turn will work to create flexible mechanisms that enable this pivotal sector to grow at an accelerated pace.