UAE among top 20 leading nations for tourism and travel in 2020

Last updated on June 1, 2021 at 05.18 pm

The UAE ranked among top 20 nations worldwide by securing best ratings in five indices related to the competitiveness of the tourism sector in the country last year, latest data shows.

Referring to the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum and the World Competitiveness Yearbook, the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC) said the UAE has a distinguished infrastructure and huge facilities that are the largest in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf region. The centre attributed the success in travel and tourism sector to comprehensive integrated work strategy implemented by the government over the past years.

“The UAE ranked first in the world in the index of the presence of the largest car rental companies, while it came sixth in the sustainability and development index and seventh in the quality of tourism infrastructure index,” according to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness report.

Effective marketing

The country also ranked eighth in the world in marketing effectiveness to attract tourists, according to the report. However, the World Competitiveness Yearbook ranked the country 17th in the tourism revenue index.

The UAE’s economic sectors, including tourism and travel, have quickly managed to return to achieving good growth rates despite the slowdown that affected all economic sectors globally last year, reflecting the strength of the national economy.

Hotel occupancy

According to statistics issued by FCSC, the tourism and hotel sectors in the UAE witnessed a growth of 158.3 per cent during the third quarter of 2020 compared to the second quarter of the same year.

“The number of hotel guests in the country increased to about 3.385 million from July to August of 2020, compared with 1.31 million from March to the end of June of the same year,” the report said.

The growth in the number of guests coincided with an increase in the number of hotel establishments “hotels and hotel apartments” that returned to work as their number increased to 1,032 by the end of third quarter of 2021 compared to 929 facilities by the end of second quarter of 2020.

New initiatives

“The number of hotel rooms increased from 135,031 rooms to 164,935 rooms during the same comparison periods,” the report said.

The UAE has worked over the past years to launch many initiatives, both at the federal and local level, to develop the tourism and travel sector, which, with the support of these initiatives, has become one of the most important tributaries of economic diversification in the country.

Travel aspirations

Meanwhile, the residents of UAE and Saudi Arabia secured top positions in terms of their travel aspirations this year and they preferred an international trip either to visit friends and family or enjoy the scenic beauty of the place or going back to the places they love or like.

Most of the UAE residents are willing to visit Maldives, Switzerland, Singapore and Canada while Saudi residents have plans to travel UAE, Egypt, Maldives and Qatar this year. About 42 per cent of the survey conducted by YouGov recently, said they are willing to spend more than the amount they spent on leisure trips in 2019 while only 19 per cent participants intend to spend less than earlier on leisure travel in 2021.


Muzaffar Rizvi Business Editor/News Editor of Khaleej Times is a well-connected journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the mainstream journalism since 1997, covering the UAE's economy and key sectors. He holds a post-graduate degree in Economics and has won many awards for authentic and insightful reports on global and regional businesses and economic trends.