Inbound Tourism Arrivals Reached 11 Million in 2012 in the UAE, Reports Timetric

07 May 2013 • by Natalie Aster

Tourism is a key pillar in the UAE’s strategy to reduce its dependency on oil revenue. The country’s tourism strategy works in partnership with its strategy to develop cities, primarily Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as major airline hubs. As the UAE lacks natural and cultural resources, it has built its tourism sector around luxury living, shopping, exhibitions, sports and high-profile construction projects such as the Jumeirah Palm, an artificial palm-shaped archipelago. The investments paid off, as tourism now forms 13.5% of the GDP. However, in line with the global economic slowdown, the UAE suffered a major decline in tourism in 2009, and while the country has made up for the loss, recovery has been slow.

Domestic tourism fell at a CAGR of -4.8% during the review period. This can be attributed to an increased preference for outbound travel. The UAE is home to a sizable expatriate (expat) population, and traveling to home countries is more popular rather than spending vacations in the UAE. Also, most UAE citizens travel abroad to escape the heat during summer, which is also when schools are closed. The rising cost of travel within the UAE, owing to high tolls and lack of budget accommodation, is also a major deterrent to domestic tourism. However, over the forecast period, domestic tourism is expected to increase at a CAGR of 1.0%. Dubai and Abu Dhabi have also embarked on promotions to encourage UAE citizens to spend vacations in the country.

Insightful report "Travel and Tourism in the UAE to 2017" by Timetric states that after a minor drop in 2009 when inbound arrivals fell from 9.2 million to 9.1 million, inbound tourism picked up as arrivals rose to 11 million in 2012. Europe continues to be the main source region, followed by Asia and the Middle East. Tourism growth has been fuelled by events such as the Formula 1 (F1) Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi, the Global Village project, the Dubai World Cup (the world’s most expensive horse race) and the Dubai Shopping Festival, which take place during the winter. November is the busiest period for tourist inflow, followed by December.

Report Details:

Travel and Tourism in the UAE to 2017
Published: March, 2013
Pages: 156
Price: US$ 1,950.00

Outbound tourism increased at a marginal CAGR of 0.7% during the review period. However, outbound tourist expenditure increased at a CAGR of 2.45%, and outbound tourism expenditure was much higher than inbound tourism expenditure in 2012. The key threat to outbound tourism is the continued economic uncertainty in European countries. The Middle East remained the most popular destination for UAE nationals. The other favored destinations were Europe and Asia-Pacific. Outbound travel is expected to increase at a CAGR of 3.1% in the forecast period.

Domestic tourism spending fell at a CAGR of -5.26% during the review period, but inbound tourism expenditure rose at a CAGR of 6.66% while outbound tourism expenditure increased at a CAGR of 2.45%. Despite outbound tourism recording a lower growth in expenditure than inbound tourism in 2012, outbound spending outstripped inbound spending. Over the forecast period, inbound tourism expenditure is expected to increase at a CAGR of 7.59%, while outbound tourism is expected to rise at a CAGR of 4.87%. Domestic tourism expenditure is forecast to post a CAGR of 3.50%.

More information can be found in the report “Travel and Tourism in the UAE to 2017” by Timetric.

To order the report or ask for sample pages contact


MarketPublishers, Ltd.
Tanya Rezler
Tel: +44 208 144 6009
Fax: +44 207 900 3970