UAE tops list of world’s best resorts



The UAE has come out on top of an international index ranking the world’s best destinations for resorts and hotels. The Emirates beat such luxury locales as the Maldives, Australia, Tahiti, and Bermuda in the 2007 Country Brand Index issued by New York-based Future Brands.

The branding consultants, who have offices in Asia Pacific, Middle East, Europe, Latin America and North America, specialise in brand assessments, branding strategy and innovation in a wide range of sectors including travel and tourism, healthcare, finance, aviation and transport.

Lower down in the rankings were well-known holiday destinations including the United States, Canada, Singapore and Malaysia.

The UAE came in second to the United States as the most preferred shopping destination, followed by Singapore, Italy, Japan, France, UK, Canada, Thailand and South Korea.

The index was composed from analysis of new trends, themes and opportunities to rank the top 10 destinations in 22 different categories including history, art and culture, outdoor activities, beaches, natural beauty, rest and relaxation, safety and value for money.

It considered countries that stand out as “strong and successful brands” across the categories, and the rankings took account of qualities that shape a country’s reputation, perception and experiences.

The study found the UAE ranked as the best for resort and lodging facilities because it boasts a wide-variety of hotel accommodation – from family-friendly beach resorts to the world’s only seven-star hotel, Burj Al Arab, in addition to the largest number of new properties under construction.

In Dubai, developments in the pipeline stretch out to 2020 and are in line to deliver 80,000 extra hotel rooms by 2010, with 100,000 people employed in the sector. The UAE’s investment in the tourism industry stands at more than Dh878 billion, with Dubai leading the field with Dh454bn in projects followed by Abu Dhabi with Dh305bn, according to a recent report. The UAE was also awarded third place among the most popular emerging destinations under the category ‘Rising Star’ after Croatia and China, who came in first and second respectively.

For fine dining, the country came in seventh, topped by destinations like France, Italy, Singapore, Japan, the US and UK. The Emirates was also in the top 10 for best business destinations.

The study concluded: “With global wealth and travel becoming accessible to a larger population, we see a dramatic ‘raising of the bar’ in the more affluent tourism sector. The cash-rich ageing population and empty nesters in the Western Hemisphere will drive business for the luxury, indulgence and self-discovery sectors.And places like Dubai are proof that exclusive luxury is alive and well.”