UAE named among top 10 tourism hotspots in 2013

UN's World Tourism Organisation ranks Gulf state as one of best performing destinations
UAE named among top 10 tourism hotspots in 2013
By Andy Sambidge
Sat 25 Jan 2014 10:37 AM

The UAE has been named among the top 10 fastest growing tourism hotspots in 2013, according to a new report by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

The Gulf state registered 10.4 percent growth in international tourist arrivals last year and was ranked alongside the likes of Russia, China, Turkey and Japan as the best performing cities.

Both Dubai and Abu Dhabi have posted record numbers of tourists in 2013. In Dubai, total revenues for the first nine months of the year were up by 17.1 percent, reaching AED15.33bn ($4.16bn).

The report also said that Qatar (up 18 percent) and Kuwait (up 15 percent) were ranked about the best emerging markets for growth in outbound expenditure.

However, the wider Middle East tourism market, which includes troubled countries such as Egypt and Syria, saw growth stagnate during 2013, posting flat growth - the worst of any region in the world. It described the region's performance as "mixed and volatile".

UNWTO also said the region was likely to record lower than average growth in 2014.

International tourist arrivals grew by five percent in 2013, reaching a record 1,087 million arrivals, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.

Despite global economic challenges, international tourism results were well above expectations, with an additional 52 million international tourists travelling the world in 2013.

For 2014, UNWTO said it forecasts 4-4.5 percent growth globally.

Demand for international tourism was strongest for destinations in Asia and the Pacific (up six percent), Africa (up six percent) and Europe (up five percent).

“2013 was an excellent year for international tourism” said UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai.

“The tourism sector has shown a remarkable capacity to adjust to the changing market conditions, fuelling growth and job creation around the world, despite the lingering economic and geopolitical challenges. Indeed, tourism has been among the few sectors generating positive news for many economies,” he added.

Rifai said: “The positive results of 2013, and the expected global economic improvement in 2014, set the scene for another positive year for international tourism. Against this backdrop, UNWTO calls upon national governments to increasingly set up national strategies that support the sector and to deliver on their commitment to fair and sustainable growth."

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