x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

Travel and tourism industry to add tens of thousands of jobs in UAE

Investment in the travel and tourism sector is forecast to jump by nearly 10 per cent this year, creating tens of thousands of extra jobs.

Estimates put the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the Emirates' GDP at Dh56.5 billion last year, representing 4 per cent of total GDP. Above, tourists at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National
Estimates put the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the Emirates' GDP at Dh56.5 billion last year, representing 4 per cent of total GDP. Above, tourists at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Silvia Razgova / The National

Tens of thousands of jobs will be created in the UAE travel and tourism sector this year as investment reaches Dh23 billion, according to a forecast by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The international organisation of travel industry executives estimated in a report that spending in the sector would rise by 9.7 per cent from Dh21bn last year.

The number of jobs directly and indirectly supported by the industry would reach 523,000 this year, a 5.3 per cent rise from 496,500 jobs the year before. Jobs supported by the industry represented 9.1 per cent of total employment across the economy last year.

Abu Dhabi is preparing to open the Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Zayed National Museum and the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi over the next three years as it seeks to carve out a name for itself in cultural tourism.

Dubai is aiming to attract 20 million tourists per year by the end of the decade as it prepares to host the World Expo in 2020. The rapid expansions of Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline are funnelling more visitors to both cities.

The direct contribution of travel and tourism to UAE GDP was Dh56.5bn last year, representing 4 per cent of total GDP, estimated the Travel & Tourism Economic Impact 2014 report. The industry was forecast to expand by 4.7 per cent in 2014. The total contribution of the industry to the economy – including wider effects from investment and the supply chain – was Dh117.4bn, or 8.4 per cent of GDP. The growth of the sector’s contribution would reach 4.5 per cent this year.

“In 2013, travel and tourism’s total contribution to the global economy rose to 9.5 per cent of total GDP, not only outpacing the wider economy but also growing faster than other significant sectors such as financial and business services, transport and manufacturing,” said David Scowsill, the president and chief executive of the WTTC.

“The outlook for travel and tourism in 2014 is also very positive, with travel and tourism GDP growth forecast to reach 4.3 per cent. Much of this growth is being driven by higher consumer spending as the recovery from recession gathers pace and is becoming firmly established.”

tarnold@thenational.ae

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