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UAE’s Tourism Spending Grows

Leisure travel spend comprised 77% of the country’s total tourism spend in 2016.Leisure travel spend comprised 77% of the country’s total tourism spend in 2016.

Spending within the UAE’s travel and tourism sector is expected to exceed $56 billion in 2022 as new mega projects come to market, a new study conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has found. The analysis, based on new data from Business Monitor International and the World Travel and Tourism Council, revealed that total spending in the sector is predicted to increase by 4.5% year-on-year in 2017 to reach over $42 billion.

Tourism and travel accounted for 12.1% of the UAE’s GDP in 2016, or $43.3 billion, Gulfbusiness.com reports.

Overall, 14.9 million leisure and business travelers visited the UAE in 2016, representing a 4.9% increase compared to 2015.

The Middle East was identified as the largest source of visitors, with a share of 28.6% in total arrivals during 2016, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 25.7% and Europe at 17.1%.

The report also found that leisure travel spend amounted to $31.31 billion, or 77% of the country’s total tourism spend in 2016, while business travel accounted for 23% or $9.13 billion.

While leisure travel spend has risen at a compound annual growth rate of over 9% since 2011, business travel spend rose at a CAGR of 10.83% over the same period. Looking ahead, growth within the travel and tourism sector is likely to be supported by several recently announced projects. They include Marsa Al Arab, a $1.7 billion tourist resort near the Burj Al Arab, the new IMG Worlds of Legends theme park, a Formula One theme park at Dubai’s Motor City, Six Flags at Dubai Parks and Resorts, and other planned shopping malls and cultural venues, the report said.

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