The national tourism strategy plans to attract investment in the tourism sector worth 100 billion dirhams and attract 40 million hotel customers to the region, said Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Governor of Sharjah; Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; SCTDA Chairman Khalid Jassim Al Midfa and other guests at the inauguration of the 9th Sharjah International Travel and Tourism Forum on Thursday. — Photos provided
The UAE has drawn up a comprehensive strategy to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the national gross domestic product (GDP) to 450 billion dirhams by 2031, its top official said.
Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, said the strategy plans to attract investment in the tourism sector worth 100 billion dirhams and bring 40 million hotel customers to the region. region. At present, the overall contribution of tourism to GDP is estimated at 177 billion dirhams.
During his keynote address at the inauguration of the 9th Sharjah International Travel and Tourism Forum, the Minister highlighted that the UAE has developed tourism infrastructure and diversified the sector, which is further enhanced by the National Tourism Strategy 2031 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.
“The strategy has been implemented to strengthen the UAE’s position as the most attractive tourist destination in the world thanks to the diversity and unique advantages of the seven emirates,” the minister said during a speech at the Sharjah forum. Thursday.
Collaboration with partners
Al Marri noted that his ministry works with local and federal partners dedicated to tourism, including airlines, the World Tourism Organization as well as other partners.
“Their objective is to implement 25 tourism initiatives and policies through which it aims to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the national GDP to 450 billion Dh by 2031, to attract investments worth 100 billion of Dh and bring 40 million hotel customers to the region,” Al said Marie.
Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, opened the forum under the theme “Building a Sustainable Future for Tourism”.
After the inauguration, Al Qasimi visited the exhibition which saw the participation of several government entities and explored their tourism projects, attractions, initiatives and their impact on the economy of the emirate. He also rewarded the forum’s sponsors, partners and speakers.
During the opening ceremony, a short video was shown about Sharjah, its main features and various tourist attractions in areas such as environment, sports and culture, among others. The Sharjah Trade and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) organized the event at the Sharjah Expo Centre.
Tourism in the UAE ranks high
The Economy Minister also highlighted the UAE’s major tourism achievements, noting that as a destination, it ranked first in the Middle East and 25th internationally according to the Tourism Competitiveness Index. in 2021.
The United Arab Emirates also ranked 11th in the world for the most attractive destinations in 2020, and for 10 years it has maintained its position as one of the top 12 destinations in the world that attracts more than 10 million visitors a year. .
With the return of tourists, the UAE’s tourism revenue exceeded $5 billion in the first half of this year. As international travel resumed after pandemic-related restrictions ended, airports in the UAE handled 22 million passengers in the first quarter of this year alone.
Khalid Jassim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, underscored Sharjah’s keenness to work with all partners in different vital sectors, to develop strategic plans aimed at the development of the tourism sector in the emirate.
He underscored the importance of investing all available resources that improve Sharjah’s position on the world tourism map, in line with the vision and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed AlQasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
“The emirate has a diverse portfolio of quality tourism destinations and development projects, particularly in ecotourism and adventure,” Al Midfa said.
The SCTDA Chairman said that tourism has proven its resilience and ability to keep up with global changes, stressing that the UAE has realized the importance of the tourism and travel sector as a key economic contributor to the national economy, and its impact on people’s lives.
“The UAE has leveraged the diversity that characterizes each of the seven emirates to enhance its tourism products, which has increased their attractiveness, noting that tourism contributed 12% of the UAE’s GDP, while the rate worldwide stands at 10%, which is strong evidence of the UAE’s pioneering position in tourism,” said Al Midfa.
Growing interest in sustainability
Gillame Massey, senior director of business development in the United Arab Emirates and Africa for Expedia, gave a presentation explaining how his company had collected more than 70 exabytes of data in collaboration with Wakefield Research. He said the data is used to connect entities such as reservation agents and hotels with the right customer by analyzing their intentions, interests and budgetary requirements.
Massey stressed that in educating the visitor community about the importance of sustainability, it is imperative that government officials and tourism experts work with tourism businesses to promote sustainability, as this promises a more developed tourism future and eco-friendly.
In its sessions and workshops, the Sharjah International Tourism and Travel Forum 2022 discussed news and trends in the global tourism sector, as well as future perceptions of tourism in Sharjah and the region.
The event also addressed innovative best practices and exchanges of ideas and vision with a host of decision-makers and tourism experts from around the world to develop tourism projects and services as well as to strengthen sustainable tourism.