UAE travel and tourism sector set to recover this year, says WTTC

UAE travel and tourism sector set to recover this year, says WTTC

Travel and tourism jobs surpass pre-pandemic levels

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) 2023 Economic Impact Research (EIR) has revealed that the UAE travel and tourism sector is projected to all but return to its 2019 peak level this year.

According to the WTTC, the sector is set to contribute AED 180.6 billion to the UAE economy by the end of 2023. This would represent nearly 10% of the UAE economy, almost matching the 2019 high of AED 183.4 billion.

Last year, the travel and tourism sector’s GDP value grew by more than 60% to reach nearly AED 167 billion, representing 9% of the country’s economy.

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The sector also created more than 89,000 jobs to reach more than 751,000 jobs nationally, surpassing 2019’s level by 6,000 jobs.

International visitors contributed AED 117.6 billion to the national economy last year, up 65% on 2021 but 19% behind 2019’s level. In terms of domestic spend, 2022 saw a 36% year-on-year jump, reaching AED 46.9 billion, 11% above its pre-pandemic counterpart.

WTTC president and CEO Julia Simpson said: “The national travel and tourism sector is recovering at a rapid pace, proving the UAE continues to grow in popularity among international travellers. The UAE is home to one of the world’s busiest and successful airports, Dubai International, which acts as a gateway to the Middle East.


“Our recent Cities EIR Report highlighted the appeal tourist destinations across the country, such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, continue to hold for international travellers. These cities have shown incredible resilience and strong leadership.”

The global tourism body predicts the sector’s value to the UAE will increase to AED 235.5 billion by 2033, representing 10% of the economy.

Over the next decade, the travel and tourism sector in the Middle East is projected to reach a contribution of nearly AED 2.5 trillion and employ more than 9.8 million people.

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