The UAE’s travel and tourism sector will contribute $44.6 billion to the country’s GDP and account for the creation of 18,000 new jobs in 2017, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2017 UAE Economic Impact report.
The London-based WTTC is recognised as one of the world’s foremost tourism industry bodies. It predicts direct employment in the UAE’s booming travel and tourism sector will rise by more than 7,300 in 2017, marking an annual increase of 2.3% on the 317,500 jobs the industry sustained in 2016.
This figure will rise at a compound annual rate of 2.4% to reach 410,000 jobs in 2027, the organisation predicts.
In terms of GDP contribution, the UAE’s travel and tourism sector is expected to account for 12.4% of the country’s total GDP in 2027, equating to a monetary value of $72 billion.
According to the report, in 2016, the total contribution of travel and tourism to employment in the UAE, including jobs indirectly supported by the industry, was 10.4% of total employment, or 617,500 jobs. This is expected to rise by 1.8% in 2017 to 628,500 jobs and by 2.0% p.a. to 770,000 jobs in 2027 (11.1% of total).
Investments in the travel and tourism sector totalled AED26.2 billion ($7.1 billion), 7.0% of total investment. The reports predicts this figure will fall marginally (-0.2%) in 2017, and rise by 11.0% p.a. over the next 10 years to reach AED74.5 billion ($20.3 billion) in 2027, 11.2% of total investment in the country.
The WTTC found that leisure travel dominated tourism spend in the UAE in 2016, accounting for 77.4% of direct Travel & Tourism GDP (AED115 billion) compared with 22.6% for business travel spending (AED33.6 billion).
Leisure travel spending is expected to grow by 3.7% in 2017 to AED119.3 billion ($32.47 billion), and rise by 4.8% p.a. to AED191.5 billion ($52 billion) in 2027. Business travel spending is expected to fall by 0.7% in 2017 to AED33.3 billion ($9 billion), and rise by 4.0% p.a. to AED49.2 billion ($13.4 billion) in 2027.