How tourism and hospitality have impacted the socio-economic landscape in the UAE

Many of us have been tourists at one time or another but defining the term may be a tall order. Generally, tourism involves any activity or travel to a location outside your normal environment for leisure or for business. Usually, this travel takes less than a year. This explains terms such as domestic tourists, international tourists, medical tourists and others.

Hospitality is a part of the service industry that deals with things within the tourism industry such as theme parks, lodging, cruise lines and event planning among others. It is the grease on the hinge of tourism.

The tourism and hospitality industry have been known to impact economies over time. The socio-economic impact is a focus on the interconnectedness between economic and social factors which is what this article zooms in on.

In 2015, the industry contributed 8.7 percent of the GDP in the UAE. It is a big part of economic growth. In 2016, the cabinet approved the formation of the Office of Arab Tourism with the intent of developing the region to be a tourist hub, both regionally and internationally and to attract investors.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the UAE generated over Dh 86 billion in visitor exports in 2015. This amount increased by 1.4 percent in 2016. So what does the UAE stand to gain by supporting the sector? This article looks ate two major benefits.

  1. Job creation

One of the major benefits of tourism is creating employment. The tourism and hospitality sector accounts for more than half a million jobs in the UAE according to experts.

An example of how this has worked in Dubai is the creation of the DHCC. The facility has become an attraction for skilled professionals to work there and presented opportunities for locally trained professionals. There are also opportunities to set up businesses such as education and cleaning services within the free zone which are further opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship.

Ultimately, a working society will have better chances of leaving more fulfilling lives as opposed to a largely unemployed one. With the people of Dubai now being busy, there has developed a need for nightlife entertainment which presents further employment opportunity. The impacts ripple across the nation, past the immediate benefits.

  1. Increasing revenue and community facilities

Last year the UAE saw more than Dh27 million in investments and Dh95 in product exchange. Experts expect that by 2025, the contribution of the sector to the GDP will have risen to 11.2 percent.

Visitor exports – the amount of revenue that is generated from tourist expenditure -have been on the rise. In addition to this, there is the money that support-businesses get which increases the nation’s revenue when they are taxed.

In the Dubai, the desire to be a tourist destination has led the government to invest heavily in infrastructure a move which not only helps the tourists but also the residents. They have enjoyed a transfer of new technologies and skills of management that they may not have acquired otherwise.