Mostafa Abdel-Azim – Rasha Tabila (Abu Dhabi, Dubai)
Officials and experts in the tourism sector in the UAE affirmed that the adoption of the new National Tourism Strategy 2031 constitutes an exceptional impetus and a new road map to continue the path of growth and tourism prosperity in the UAE, and to consolidate the position and leadership of the country as a preferred tourism destination for tourists and tourism investments from all over the world.
They stressed that the strategy is a strong incentive and motivation for the sector to continue to excel and achieve more excellence, achievements and the desired tourism growth, in addition to the importance of this strategy in attracting more investments and tourists, which will provide more job opportunities and achieve large economic returns.
Khaled Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, said: “The adoption of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, of the National Tourism Strategy 2031 confirms the efforts made at the level of the UAE to consolidate its leading position and a preferred tourist destination. At the world level, and despite being among the top 10 global tourist destinations, our wise leadership aspires, as we return, to reach sustainable excellence by creating an attractive environment that contributes to attracting 100 billion dirhams in tourism investments, and raising the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP to 450 billion dirhams » .
He added, “We will employ our human and material resources in the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority to comply with the objectives of the National Tourism Strategy, by developing, promoting and encouraging the tourism sector in the emirate, by preserving the sustainability of its resources and developing its investments, and strengthening the image of the state and the Emirate of Sharjah in the minds of travelers and investors from all walks of life.” around the world by shedding light on the development and renaissance that we are witnessing within the framework of the comprehensive and sustainable development process, which is in essence consistent with the directives and vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. comprehensive in the coming years.
Raki Phillips, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, confirmed that the tourism sector in Ras Al Khaimah is qualified to make a strong contribution to achieving the goals of the National Tourism Strategy 2031, in light of the promising prospects that the emirate enjoys and its great attractiveness for investments and tourism flows, and its plans to double hotel capacity to between Between 15 and 20 thousand rooms within 5 years.
Phillips said in statements to Al-Ittihad: The Emirate of Ras Al-Khaimah succeeded in a few years in consolidating its position on the map of local, regional and global tourism, and put its mark on the list of preferred tourist destinations to visit in many major markets, pointing to the emirate’s recent success in hosting business The annual summit of BATA, an important organization covering a large region including Asia and the Pacific
He explained that Ras Al Khaimah’s hosting of this summit, which is organized for the first time in the Middle East, contributed to reviewing the emirate’s potential as a promising tourism hub for BATA member countries, as well as for the UAE, in which the tourism sector is an important source of the economy, with a contribution of about 12% of the gross domestic product. It provides more than 750,000 job opportunities, which reflects the pivotal role of the sector as a fundamental pillar and a major cornerstone in the diversified economy of the UAE.
With regard to the performance of the tourism sector in Ras Al Khaimah, Phillips said: The emirate has succeeded in achieving a rapid recovery from the effects of the “Covid-19” pandemic and a return to peak levels in 2019 in a number of key indicators, such as hotel occupancy and return on available rooms, pointing to a record The sector, since the beginning of this year until now, has grown 15% higher than last year, and is on the way to exceeding the pre-pandemic peak levels in 2019, with regard to visitor numbers, who are expected to reach 1.1 million visitors.
He pointed out that despite the challenges still facing the travel and tourism industry around the world in light of the current economic and geopolitical conditions, achieving full recovery from the pandemic and reaching 1.1 million visitors this year is important for Ras Al Khaimah tourism to continue growing and expanding during the coming years. The emirate remained very attractive to visitors, as well as to tourism investments.
He said: Ras Al Khaimah constitutes an important destination for attracting local and international tourism investments, given the many promising opportunities it provides in this sector, which would greatly consolidate its contribution to attracting investments to the tourism sector in the country and qualify it to play a pivotal role in enhancing the UAE’s attractiveness for tourism investments. .
Mona Awni, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications at AccorHotels Dubai, said, “The adoption of the National Tourism Strategy until 2031 is a new road map for the tourism sector to continue the path of growth and prosperity, and an incentive for tourism makers and a challenge for them to excel and move forward.”
She added: «Achieving new goals by attracting 40 million hotel guests in 2031 is easy to achieve with the achievements made by the UAE, as it has been able to position itself on the global tourism map as an integrated tourist destination, whether recreational, cultural, sports, environmental and business, which attracts all categories of visitors from families. And businessmen. Awni indicated that the UAE provided facilities and invested in the sector, which made it attract visitors from different countries of the world and of all categories. Saud Al Darmaki, an expert in the tourism sector, said: “This new strategy, whose objectives include recording a significant growth in visitors and attracting investments, predicts a new dawn, a bright future and continuity of the importance of the tourism sector to the national economy, in addition to a great incentive for the sector to continue achieving growth in the sector.”
He added, “This strategy will contribute to providing more job opportunities by attracting investments and achieving the desired tourism growth.”
The number of passengers at the country’s airports reflects the strong tourist demand
Virginia Messina, Senior Vice President of Communications at the World Travel and Tourism Council, confirmed that the tourism sector in the UAE enjoys promising prospects for growth and prosperity, reflected in the strong performance indicators that it has recorded for many years, and its superior flexibility in overcoming the effects of the “Covid-19” pandemic and the rapid return to the recovery path. Thanks to the exceptional and innovative political efforts undertaken by the UAE government in responding to the “pandemic”.
She explained that the country was one of the few markets that implemented innovative and creative policies, especially during the “Covid-19” pandemic. While many tourist destinations were completely closing, the UAE was carrying out professional procedures with regard to “Covid-19” tests and the dissemination of vaccines. And managing things well to keep its borders open, which was reflected in achieving a rapid recovery and recording strong numbers in the number of tourists and travelers through the country’s airports, which are currently witnessing – especially Dubai International Airport – a dense and smooth movement of passengers, which reflects the strong demand for travel to the UAE.
Messina said in statements to Al-Ittihad: According to the forecasts of the World Travel and Tourism Council, the tourism and travel sector in the UAE is expected to achieve an annual growth rate during the period from 2022 to 2032 of 4.7%, which is among the highest rates in the world.
She indicated that, according to the data, the sector’s contribution to the UAE’s GDP is expected to rise from 6.4% in 2021, or the equivalent of 100 billion dirhams ($27 billion) to 8.8%, or the equivalent of 143 billion dirhams ($39 billion) in 2021. the current year 2022, and then the contribution will rise to about 11% of the GDP in 2032.
The Senior Vice President of Communications at the World Travel and Tourism Council indicated that, according to the Council’s data, the travel and tourism sector in the UAE is expected to achieve employment growth of 12% annually during the period from 2022 to 2032, bringing the total number of jobs in the sector to about 865 thousand jobs, an increase 177 thousand additional jobs compared to the number of jobs in 2022, which amounted to 688 thousand jobs, pointing out that the number of jobs provided by the sector increased during the current year by 6.8% compared to 2021, during which the total number of jobs in the sector reached 644 thousand jobs.
With regard to expectations for the recovery of tourism and travel globally from the repercussions of the pandemic and a return to peak levels in 2019, Messina said that all indicators indicate a strong recovery and an acceleration in its pace despite the variation witnessed in some regions and tourist destinations around the world, expecting a return to pre-pandemic peak levels in 2019. 2019, during the next year 2023, especially in the Middle East region, which is the fastest to recover, as well as a large number of other markets, such as Europe, whose markets witnessed good performance last summer.
She explained that despite the challenges that the travel and tourism industry is currently facing, such as high costs, inflation and geopolitical conditions, most markets are functioning well in light of the frantic demand for travel.
For his part, Salah Al Kaabi, Executive Director of Bavaria Holidays, stressed, “The launch of a new national strategy for the tourism sector is very important, as the UAE enjoys an important strategic location through a network linking it to the world from aviation, land and sea transport, which makes it better for safe tourism investment.” .
He added: «Abu Dhabi is witnessing significant and remarkable growth in the tourism sector and hotel reservations, as it continues to develop and expand the infrastructure, attract and develop various tourism investments, and find safe investment opportunities that depend on strong infrastructure, facilities and flexibility, in order to make investments in the right and safe place ».
He added, “All indications say that investment in the tourism sector, which is a non-oil national product of the state, is extremely important, and I am developing a national strategy and plans that contribute to further excellence and tourism promotion.”
In turn, Mustafa Tantawi, Director of Operations at Al Qasr Hotel Abu Dhabi, said, “The state’s strategies in this industry will reflect positively on the output of this sector, which will increase its annual contribution to the gross domestic product.
He said: “During the last two years, global tourism was significantly affected in light of the downturn in this sector, and all international tourist destinations were affected by it, and of course their domestic product was affected, while Gulf tourist destinations, especially the UAE, began to recover and return at a rapid pace.”
He added, “Abu Dhabi is witnessing a great tourist movement, through international conferences, exhibitions and activities, such as the success of the ADIPEC exhibition and the launch of the Formula 1 race this month, as well as many events, events and exhibitions.”
And between Tantawi, “Achieving the goal of contributing to the gross domestic product will be supported by laws encouraging foreign and domestic investments and continuing to increase new tourist sites and areas.”