UAE launches landmark 10-year tourism strategy

UAE launches landmark 10-year tourism strategy

The UAE has revealed ambitious plans to boost the value of tourism’s contribution to the national economy to US$122 billion by 2031, while attracting more than US$27 billion in fresh international investment to the sector.

The goals form part of a new landmark, multi-platform strategy aimed at driving the growth of its tourism sector over the next decade.

The UAE Tourism Strategy 2031, which was officially introduced in November by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has been dubbed one of the biggest initiatives launched under the Projects of the 50 scheme, which marks 50 years since the UAE’s formation and aims to grow the country’s economy over the next half a century.

Building on past successes

At the official launch of the strategy, HH Sheikh Mohammed stressed the importance of consolidating the UAE’s reputation as one of the world’s most-visited countries.

"The UAE [currently] ranks among the top 10 global tourist destinations,” His Highness commented. “Our goal is to boost our competitiveness by attracting AED100 billion as additional tourism investments and welcome 40 million hotel guests in 2031."

“Tourism is key to diversifying our economy and boosting the UAE’s global competitiveness. In the first quarter of 2022, our airports received 22 million passengers. Our goal is for the tourism sector's contribution to be AED450 billion [US$122bn] of GDP in 2031.”

Industry stakeholders get on board

The all-encompassing strategy has earned the support of the UAE tourism industry’s most important stakeholders, including both major international airlines – Etihad Airways and Emirates – emirate-based tourism bodies including Dubai Department of Economy & Tourism (DET) and all major private sector organisations.

According to a government statement, the strategy “includes 25 initiatives and policies to support the development of the tourism sector in the country”.

“It is based on four key directions: strengthening the unified national tourism identity; developing and diversifying specialised tourism products; building tourism capabilities; encouraging the contribution of national cadres in the tourism sector; and increasing investments in all tourism sectors,” the statement published by government news agency WAM read.

“The strategy’s initiatives and directions will enhance the country’s efforts in providing an attractive and safe national tourism environment, pioneering and integrated tourism services, diverse and unique destinations, and a developed infrastructure for the tourism sector.”

Tourism strategy to leverage Dubai Urban Master Plan

The UAE Tourism Strategy 2031 will also complement and tie into Dubai’s landmark 2040 Urban Master Plan, which launched in 2021 and provides a sustainable development roadmap for the emirate over the next two decades. It is designed to help consolidate Dubai’s reputation as a leading business and tourism investment destination.

Underpinning Dubai’s appeal to international investors and tourists alike, the plan calls for an increase in total space dedicated to hotels and tourism activities by 134% compared with today, while the area used for commercial activities will increase to 168 sq km.

The Plan also calls for the total length of beaches to increase by as much as 400 per cent in 2040.

Ultimately, the strategy will help establish Dubai as one of the world’s greenest and most-liveable cities, providing an ultra-modern home for a population that is forecast to rise to 5.8 million by 2040, up from 3.3 million today, and an incredible business and lifestyle destination for millions of visitors from across the globe.

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