Travel & Tourism contributed 11.1% of the economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2018, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) annual review of the economic impact and social importance of the sector released today.

In 2018, Travel & Tourism contributed AED164.7 billion (US$44.8 billion) to the country’s economy. The sector now represents 11.1% of the UAE’s total economy; this means that one in every nine Dirhams is now generated by Travel & Tourism.

The research by WTTC, which represents the private sector of global Travel & Tourism, compares the sector across 185 countries, shows that in 2018 the UAE Travel & Tourism sector:

  • Grew by 2.4% to AED164.7 billion (US$44.8 billion). This represents 11.1% of the economy of the UAE, above the global average of 10.4% and the regional Middle East average of 8.7%
  • Supported 612,000 jobs, or 9.6% of total employment, which means that almost one in every ten jobs in the UAE is supported by Travel & Tourism
  • Was primarily driven by leisure travelers: 77% of Travel & Tourism spending was generated by leisure visitors and 23% from business travelers
  • Is very strongly weighted towards international travel: 77% of Travel & Tourism spending came from international travelers and 23% from domestic travel

Commenting on the numbers, Gloria Guevara, WTTC President & CEO said: “Over the past few years, the UAE has been one of the great success stories of global Travel & Tourism. Emirates and Etihad have changed the face of global aviation and Dubai International Airport is recognized as one of the world’s greatest hubs. Hotels from the UAE now proliferate the region and the world. That story of extraordinary growth and influence is set to continue with the emergence of Ras Al Khaimah as one of the world’s most exciting emerging destinations.”

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