UAE Hospitality & Tourism Sector is Expected to see an Accelerated Growth

UAE Hospitality & Tourism Sector is Expected to see an Accelerated Growth

The hospitality and tourism sector in UAE is expected to accelerate its growth and strengthen in 2021, as a result of the push to mass coronavirus vaccinations and the easing of travel restrictions in some countries. Reports from ‘Hoteliers’ suggested that UAE had the second highest Hotels occupancy rate after China in 2020 despite the pandemic. Similarly, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) in Abu Dhabi also expects that the hotel occupancy rates will increase to at least 80% in 2021, from 70% in 2020.

With Abu Dhabi being confident about a substantial recovery in the tourism sector by the year 2021, the Emirate now focuses on providing high-quality and exciting experiences with health, safety & well-being as the top priority. Abu Dhabi has taken all the necessary precautions to welcome the increasing numbers of tourists in a safe environment. Currently Abu Dhabi DCT has a Green List of 14 countries, regions and territories that can travel to the Emirates. The committee constantly reviews the countries based on Covid-19 developments globally, planning to expand the green list and anticipates a growing number of countries to be added to it in the near future.  

UAE Tourism – Growth Factors

The UAE is in a strong position to capture target markets as they reopen its borders. On similar lines, Dubai’s focuses on tapping into the conferences business, boost leisure events and start a new global marketing campaign in May 2021 to showcase the emirate as a summer destination for families. According to the statistics from Dubai Tourism, the Emirate hosted more than 810,000 international tourists in the first two months of 2021 compared to 3.27 million visitors in January and February of 2020. Last year, Dubai had 5.1 Million visitors, which was one-third of the number of visitors in 2019.

Some of the major growth drivers for the tourism industry include the Dubai Expo, the UAE’s 50-year celebrations, and a surge in domestic tourists. Once the key source markets of Saudi Arabia, the UK and Germany re-open, the rebound in leisure travel to the UAE will see a significant increase in its numbers. The Israel market will also be a huge opportunity following the normalisation of relations with the UAE, given the spending power and interest from both Israeli residents and travellers to Israel.

Growth in UAE Hospitality & Tourism Sector

Overcoming Covid-19 situation and a mass push for the corona vaccines will be a key to accelerate the growth of the tourism sector in the country. The UAE government has successfully rolled-out the Covid-19 vaccines with over 52.46% of the UAE population being vaccinated already. Other initiatives to help the growth in the local economy such as extension of freeze on government fees to support the local economy & businesses and the announcement of UAE citizenship has also boosted the interest level among tourists to visit UAE. The overall market shows significant potential for the growth in the Hospitality & Tourism sector in the forthcoming years.


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Author: Waqas Siddiqui
The author is the Managing Director of Research Konnection, a Dubai based market research and consulting firm that helps local and international companies to identify emerging business opportunities and successfully expand in the Gulf region. The author can be reached at waqas@researchkonnection.com

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