The UAE propels its outbound tourism sector with a new visa-free policy for countries including the UK, Canada and Switzerland


Sunday, June 30, 2024

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) propels its outbound tourism sector for the Emirati citizens with a new visa-free policy for countries including the UK, Canada and Singapore.

Thus, the UAE has embarked on a visionary path to diversify its economy, with tourism emerging as a pivotal driver of economic diversification.

Projections indicate that by 2028, the travel and tourism sector will contribute a substantial $62.8 billion to the UAE’s GDP, underscoring its pivotal role in economic expansion.

UAE’s Tourism Landscape and Growth Prospects

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE was a magnet for international tourists, welcoming over 25 million visitors in 2019.

This sector not only fuels economic growth but also serves as a significant source of employment, with projections indicating nearly 400,000 jobs by 2028.

Despite setbacks from the pandemic, the UAE’s tourism industry is showing robust signs of recovery, evidenced by improving hospitality metrics and a resurgence in hotel occupancy rates nearing pre-pandemic levels.

Luxury Tourism and Hotel Sector Dominance

A cornerstone of UAE’s tourism strategy lies in its luxury hospitality offerings, with Dubai leading the region with over 150 luxury hotels, accounting for 46% of the GCC’s luxury hotel inventory.

The emirate’s five-star hotel occupancy rates in 2022 stood at an impressive 70%, showcasing its allure to high-end travelers.

Future growth is bolstered by a pipeline dominated by luxury, upper-upscale, and upscale hotels, highlighting UAE’s commitment to sustaining and expanding its luxury tourism segment.

Visa-Free Policy to Boost Outbound Travel

In a strategic move to further bolster its tourism sector, the UAE has implemented a visa-free policy, facilitating seamless outbound travel for its residents.

This policy not only enhances global mobility but also encourages Emirati citizens to explore diverse international destinations, thereby contributing to outbound tourism expenditures that stimulate economic activity both at home and abroad.

Based on information available from various sources including the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, here is a general list of popular outbound travel destinations for the UAE citizens:

European Destinations:

United Kingdom

North American Destinations:

United States

Asian Destinations:

South Korea

Middle Eastern Destinations:

Saudi Arabia

African Destinations:

South Africa

Oceania Destinations:

New Zealand

Contribution of Outbound Tourism to UAE’s Economy

Outbound tourism plays a crucial role in UAE’s economic landscape, contributing significantly to GDP through expenditures abroad.

Emirati travelers frequent destinations across Europe, Asia, North America, and beyond, fueling economic activities such as hospitality, retail, and transportation in those regions.

This outbound travel expenditure not only supports local economies worldwide but also fosters cultural exchanges and enhances diplomatic ties.

Diverse Travel Options: Cruises, Airlines, and Railways

The UAE’s commitment to enhancing travel infrastructure is evident in its robust offerings across various travel modes.

The cruise industry, for instance, sees Emirati travelers embarking on global voyages, contributing to maritime tourism growth.

Airlines operating from UAE hubs like Dubai and Abu Dhabi connect travellers to a vast network of international destinations, supporting both leisure and business travel needs.

Additionally, efficient railway networks within the UAE promote domestic tourism while enhancing connectivity for international travelers.

The UAE continues to attract global attention

As the UAE charts a course towards economic diversification, its tourism sector stands out as a beacon of growth and resilience.

With a strategic visa-free policy driving outbound travel, a thriving luxury hospitality sector, and robust infrastructure across air, sea, and land travel, the UAE continues to attract global attention.

The resilience shown in recovering from pandemic-induced setbacks underscores its commitment to sustainable tourism practices and economic vitality, positioning the UAE as a leader in the global tourism landscape.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive and travel conditions may vary based on visa requirements, diplomatic relations, and current travel advisories.

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