The Emirates Tourism Council held a meeting recently, chaired by H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy and Head of the Council, and attended by chairpersons and directors of all local tourism entities in the country. The meeting discussed an array of topics, including the latest on the implementation of the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031, mechanisms to promote government-private cooperation to achieve its goals, and the progress made by the “World’s Coolest Winter” campaign.
H.E. Bin Touq confirmed that the UAE’s tourism sector is witnessing continuous growth on all fronts, supported by the wise leadership’s vision to develop sustainable policies and strategies for the sector, given its role as one of the key contributors to national economic growth and its competitiveness.
H.E. Bin Touq said: “The UAE’s hotel establishments generated a total of AED 26 billion in revenues during the period from January to July 2023, achieving a growth of 24 per cent compared to the same period last year. Hotel establishments in the country hosted 16 million guests during this period with a growth of more than 15 per cent compared to the number of guests in the same period in 2022. The number of hotel nights reached 56 million. Similarly, the number of hotel establishments in the UAE amounted to 1,224 by the end of July this year, while the hotel occupancy rate reached 75 per cent during this period, up by five per cent.”
“These figures highlight the UAE’s growing competitiveness in the global tourism landscape in line with our national goal to raise the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP to AED 450 billion by the next decade, in accordance with the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision,” H.E. added.
The meeting announced the formation of the Hospitality Advisory Committee, aimed at stimulating growth and diversification and increasing the competitiveness of this vital sector in the country in line with international best practices. The newly-formed Committee will work to improve the UAE’s attractiveness to tourism investments, create sector-specific initiatives and programs, and facilitate continuous dialogue with private sector entities and companies operating in the hospitality sector.
The Committee will be headed by H.E. Bin Touq and includes members from the private sector such as Amit Nayak, Vice President of the Hospitality Asset Managers Association; Rashad Barajkli, General Manager of The First Group; and Abdul Baset Al Hai, General Manager of Wasl Hospitality; Benoy Kurian, Group CEO of Al Hamra; Khaled Anib, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Hotels; Vijay Rajhavan, CEO of Arenco Group; and Fahad Kazim, CEO of Millennium Hotels and Resorts.
Furthermore, the Council meeting reviewed the outcomes of the third edition of the “World’s Coolest Winter” campaign and its role in promoting and revitalizing domestic tourism in the UAE. It plays a key role in attracting tourists from around the world to enjoy the beauty of winter every year and supporting national tourism projects across the country.
The third edition of the campaign promoted tourism, natural and recreational destinations and experiences across all the seven emirates, significantly boosting domestic tourism. During this time, hotel revenues grew to reach AED 1.8 billion, up 20 per cent compared to the second edition of the campaign, which amounted to AED 1.5 billion. This complements the success that the campaign achieved in its previous two editions, catalyzing the launch of more initiatives that contribute to translating the wise leadership’s directives and achieving innovative strategic visions for the tourism sector.
Additionally, the Council discussed the upcoming launch of the fourth edition of the campaign, which is scheduled to be announced in December 2023.
Other topics of discussion included mechanisms to support joint efforts by various government entities and the private sector to achieve the goals of the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031, which is based on four main pillars. These are: the strengthening of the national tourism identity; development and diversification of specialized tourism products and building tourism capabilities; encouraging the entry of nationals into the sector; and increasing investments in various tourism sector areas.
H.E. Bin Touq underlined that the national efforts to achieve the Strategy’s goals continue, establishing an attractive and safe national tourism environment and providing integrated tourism services, diverse and unique destinations, and advanced infrastructure for the sector.
Moreover, the meeting discussed the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority’s preparations for the 10th Sharjah International Tourism and Travel Forum 2023 at the Sharjah Expo Centre, scheduled to be held on 22nd November 2023. The forum will feature a wide range of workshops, dialogue sessions and tours on various topics including the reduction of negative impacts on the environment and communities, development of positive experiences for tourists and locals, and the “Sharjah Sustainable City” initiative that aligns with the UAE’s hosting of COP28 this year.
The meeting was attended by H.E. Abdullah Ahmed Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy; H.E. Saleh Al Geziry, Director General of Tourism at the Department of Culture and Tourism in Abu Dhabi; H.E. Essam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing; H.E. Khaled Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority; H.E. Mahmoud Al Hashemi, Director General of Ajman Department of Tourism Development; H.E. Saeed Al Samahi, Director General of Fujairah Tourism and Antiquities Authority; H.E. Haitham Sultan Al Ali, Director of Umm Al Quwain Department of Tourism and Archaeology; Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; and Alya Al Hamadi, Vice Chairperson at UAE Government Media Office.