H.E. Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, visited the pavilions of various countries participating in ITB Berlin 2023, one of the largest tourism trade fairs in the world that took place from 7-9 March this year.
During the visit, the Minister of Economy emphasized that the UAE has a distinguished and highly resilient tourism sector that has proven its mettle in the face of several global challenges.
He elaborated that the outstanding growth and top rankings achieved by the UAE tourism sector have solidified the country’s position on the global tourism landscape, highlighting it as a sustainable destination for tourists from all over the world. This success can be attributed to the country’s advanced tourism infrastructure; hospitality establishments of highest standards; diverse and unique tourism and heritage destinations, in addition to the safe and stable living environment that the UAE is known for.
H.E. Bin Touq said: “Thanks to the forward-looking vision of the wise leadership, the UAE tourism sector quickly bounced back from crises and continue to achieve record growth that exceeds pre-pandemic levels. By the end of 2022, hotel establishments in the country received 25 million guests who spent 91 million nights, with an 18 per cent growth compared to 2021 and 7 per cent over 2019. The number of hotel establishments in the country also reached nearly 1,200, with a 5 per cent growth from 2019, while the number of hotel rooms exceeded 200,000 with a 11 per cent growth. Additionally, the occupancy rate in the hospitality establishments reached 71 per cent in 2022, which is among the highest in the region and the world. As a result, hotel revenues also grew significantly in 2022, totaling AED 38 billion with a 23 per cent growth over 2019.”
He added: “Tourism is one of the most important sectors that support the national economy as it contributes nearly 11 per cent to the GDP annually. The launch of the ‘National Tourism Strategy 2031’ by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, confirms the importance we attach to the sector’s development. The strategy aims to continue strengthening the tourism sector in order to boost its contribution to the national economy by AED 450 billion, an annual increase of AED 27 billion. It is also set to mobilize new investments worth AED 100 billion in the UAE’s tourism sector and attract 40 million guests to our hotel establishments by 2031.”
H.E. Bin Touq continued: “The UAE government continues to launch innovative initiatives to drive the growth of this key sector and promote opportunities offered by various sub-sectors within it. The ‘World’s Coolest Winter’ campaign, launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, played a key role in the sector’s growth as well.”
The Minister of Economy toured the pavilions of all emirates participating in the fair, and met with the heads of delegations and participants, including H.E. Mahmoud Al Hashemi, Director General of the Department of Tourism Development in Ajman; Raki Phillips, CEO of the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority; and Tariq Majdi, Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai. H.E. Bin Touq praised the efforts exerted by the teams in showcasing the development of the UAE tourism and the wide array of options it offers to tourists from around the world.
Underlining the importance of the UAE’s unified tourism identity, H.E. explained how it still preserves the uniqueness and authenticity of each emirate while effectively highlighting their tourism potentials, as showcased by the emirates’ pavilions at the Fair. This will help boost tourism flows to the UAE and promote available investment opportunities in various tourism activities, thus contributing to the sustainable growth of the national economy.
ITB is the largest and oldest international tourism trade fair, which launched its first edition in 1966. Every year, more than 180 countries with more than 10,000 exhibitors from tourism sectors from around the world participate in the exhibition, which is also attended by nearly 160,000 professionals specialized in the sector.
The latest edition of the Fair stands out as the exhibition is held in person for the first time after the Covid-19 pandemic. It serves as a leading global platform for promoting tourism destinations and forging professional partnerships between tour operators, companies, hotels and tourism service providers, in addition to promoting knowledge and experiences exchange and discussions on global tourism trends.