Tourism leads the bounce back

Travel and tourism should be “economic catalyst” to recovery

It’s official. Dubai is forecast to emerge from the recession this year, and much of the economic growth is down to the strength of the tourism sector.

According to figures from the IMF, the emirate will see economic growth this year of 0.5%. The IMF had previously forecast that Dubai’s economy would continue to contract thanks to its debt woes and the fall out from the property crash. But following a 1.3% contraction during 2009, tourism has grown “better than was anticipated at the beginning of the year,” and Dubai is now powering forward to economic  recovery quicker than was once anticipated.

The fact that Dubai’s tourism industry is playing such a pivotal role in its recovery only serves to justify our pick for number one spot in the Arabian Travel News Power 50  – congratulations to HE Khalid Bin Sulayem, director general of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marrketing (DTCM).

There’s more positive news for the region in general this month with figures from IATA showing that the Middle East’s air travel market is booming too. Passenger traffic in the region jumped 23.9% in September, and regional airlines are carrying a third more traffic than they did prior to the recession. It just goes to underline again the vital role that travel and tourism  plays in economic recovery.

The situation in the Middle East seems a stark contrast to what’s going on elsewhere in the world, where tough times have brought news of higher airline taxes, huge tourism board budget slashing and strict austerity measures. VisitBritain, the UK’s tourism board for example, barely survived the chopping block in the UK government’s recent round of budget cuts, and will now operate under a severely reduced budget –  tough when you have Olympics to promote.

IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani has pleaded with governments to look at tourism and air travel as an “economic catalyst” saying: “Government actions can impact the sustainability of the recovery. Austerity measures will dampen demand.” Maybe its time these governments looked to this region as an example as how to place tourism at the forefront of economic recovery.

Monika Grzesik, is the editor of Arabian Travel News.

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Posted by: Expat Writer

Bounce back?........What bounce back?

Posted by: gogetter

Gulf governments are hardly that helpful to bringing tourists in - look at the lastest visas restrictions on candadian citzens! thats not helping tourism is it?!! not to mention all the other visa restrictions that already exist on other nationalities that could be eased. however you are right. the Eurpean governments are currently taxing to hihg heaven the travel and touims sector to the extend that its getting too expensive to travel. the UK government in particular. It could impact this market - after all, the UK is the biggest source market. Governments should help tourism not hinder it as you say.

Posted by: Will take my holidays anywhere but UAE

Look at the UAE as an example for tourism???

UAE has just forced Canadians to now get visa's to enter UAE because the spoilt little Emirati's didn't get their way.

Way to promote tourism UAE...NOT!

Posted by: Fred

This is a complete farce. we are in the Tourism business in Dubai and have seen our income go down by 85% from the highs of the 07.
Sure, there are tourists everywhere. But they're brought in on deeply discounted packages, just to fill the rooms. They do not shop or spend money on anything other than what's already included in their package.
If any one thinks that the situation here will improve ahead of the EU, they are in denial.

Posted by: abrar qaisar

Its good to see the optimism going around. Has any one figured out that how these improving numbers of tourists or air line travles translate into cash flow that is comparable to the debt repayments? What is needed here is a clearly chalked out a long term strategy to deal with the debt and then increasing the economic activities like tourism might be considered as supporting factors. Standing alone these numbers hardly make things any better.

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