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Mon 6 Jul 2009 04:51 PM

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31% of UAE residents choosing to holiday at home

UAE tourism to see growth this summer as residents spend their vacation in the country.

UAE tourism is likely to see growth this summer as more residents are choosing to holiday at home, experts said on Monday.

Some 31 percent of UAE residents will spend their vacation in the country rather than going abroad, compared to 11 percent who did so last year, according to Jinan an Abu Dhabi-based hospitality management company.

The increase is due to major spending in the UAE tourism sector, which is likely to reach AED858bn ($233bn) by 2018, the firm said in a statement.

The company said people were also reluctant to go abroad because of the threat of swine flu. The World Heath Organisation (WHO) said the H1N1 virus has been spread around the world more quickly because of air travel.

Since 2000, the UAE has launched a number of projects to promote tourism in the country.  Some AED230bn worth of hotel projects are in Abu Dhabi, which currently has 85 percent of all new hotels being built in the GCC.

"Abu Dhabi has made significant progress on the Saadiyat Island project – a large island off the coast of the capital that will be the cultural centre of the emirate – by establishing several cultural, scientific and educational structures, such as world-class museums,” said Noel Massoud, CEO of Jinan Hotels and Resorts.

“This step will pave the way for the tourism sector to greatly increase its contribution to the country's gross domestic product, provide job opportunities, rejuvenate the real estate sector and attract more assets".

In 2006, AED60bn was spent on tourism in the UAE, which rose to AED70bn in 2007. The figure dropped to AED50bn in 2008.

“This is considered by many experts to be a strong indication of the limited influence of financial crisis on the country’s tourism sector, which has continued to grow at around ten percent per year, the largest growth rate in the Middle East,” the firm said in a statement.

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biztrip 11 years ago

The main reason for this increase is because UAE residents are starting to tighten their belts and save money wherever they can. The future is looking bleak and we have to save for a rainy day. Not to mention that the Airlines are still charging way too much for return flights back to Europe, USA, Asia, etc. This will actually have a negative effect on the economy because the majority of business owners will think that demand for their products and services are surprisingly higher and so they will increase their prices AGAIN.....and wey hey we will find ourselves in a short term boom-bust cycle!! It wouldn't surprise me if we see several articles published over the next few weeks confirming that tourism is on the UP in the UAE!! They will never learn.

ME 11 years ago

I own the domain uaetourism.com and as far as visitors to it go 41% are from Saudi Arabia, 29% from Egypt, 14% from Britain, 6% from Middle East, 3% from United States I would imagine swine flu would have something to do with the lower numbers for Britain and United States......who knows for sure though, maybe its just the recession biting ??

emma 11 years ago

People are not travelling due to the media and UAE government sensationalising swine flu. People do have money to spend, the credit crunch is partially to do with the non-movement but does not contribute to it as much as pig flu. People are reluctent to travel as they are afraid of being quarantined away from home. It has never been a better time in terms of deals and cost to travel, with amazing deals in the market.