The travel and tourism industry in the UAE was responsible for supporting, directly and indirectly, nearly half a million jobs last year, and is expected to add more this year, said a report.
“In 2013, the travel and tourism industry indirectly supported 497,000 jobs, which is 9.1 per cent of total employment,” the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said in its comments about UAE. The industry is likely to support another 26,000 jobs this year, it added. This means that tourism will account for 523,000 jobs in 2014.
WTTC data showed that the industry directly supported 291,000 jobs last year, making up 5.3 per cent of the total employment generated in the UAE in 2013. The numbers are likely to improve further this year to 308,000 direct jobs being supported by the travel and tourism industry.
According to the global tourism body, 11.3 million visitors came to the UAE last year.
Dubai, UAE’s commercial and entertainment hub, alone received over 10 million tourists last year and aims to double to 20 million annually by the end of this decade. Dubai’s tourism industry received a major boost after it won Expo 2020, which will help it in attracting huge investments and creating thousands of jobs over the next 5-6 years.
Data showed that the industry received $5.71 billion (Dh21 billion) investments, or 6.2 per cent of total investments; that is expected to rise to 9.7 per cent this year.
It said visitor exports generated $22.04 billion (Dh81 billion) in 2013, making up 5.8 per cent of total exports. This is projected to rise by 2.9 per cent.
In terms of total contribution to economy, WTTC said industry contributed $32 billion (Dh117.4 billion) which is 8.4 per cent of the total GDP.
The contribution is likely to increase by a $1 billion this year. While direct contribution was put at $15 billion (Dh55 billion), or 4 per cent of GDP, the global travel and tourism body sees another $1 billion addition to the UAE’s GDP by the industry this year.