The UAE’s travel and tourism sectors have been hailed as the most advanced in the Middle East. According to Visa’s recent ‘Tourism Outlook: UAE report,’ 8.2 million people visited the country last year, spending a total of $4 billion on their Visa cards. Dubai was the UAE’s strongest performer, with visitors to the emirate helping the UAE to record its highest ever number of inbound and outbound flights in 2011; totaling 683,389 – a rise of 7.6% on 2010.
The report cited the iconic Dubai Shopping Festival as one of the leading factors driving tourism to Dubai and the UAE. During DSF 2012, from January 5th – February 5th, Visa Card spending hit a staggering $497 million, compared to $406 million the previous year, with the hotel and retail industry pocketing a large amount of the profits.