UAE tourism industry ranked most competitive in region


JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia – A new World Economic Forum report ranked the travel and tourism industry in UAE as most competitive in the region.

On the whole, the UAE was positioned at 28th out of 140 nations in the fifth Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report. This was a jump of two places compared to the previous ranking in 2011. Qatar was ranked as the second most competitive Gulf tourism market. The country attained a ranking of 41st globally, which was an improvement of one place since 2011. Qatar has stepped up its efforts to host a grand FIFA World Cup 2022 by pumping billions into the development of its travel and tourism industry. Around 21 new hotels are expected to be completed in the next five years.

Oman also recorded an improvement in its ranking as it rose four places to 57th in the overall ranking. Hotel sector in Oman is expected to grow by more than 60 percent as 4,613 rooms are due for completion in the coming years. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was ranked at 62nd position for global competitiveness on the back of 14 percent growth in tourism last year.

Meanwhile, the troubled state of Bahrain fell by 15 places to 55th rank as the political uprisings had a negative impact on the country’s tourism industry. Kuwait was the lowest ranked Gulf tourism market as it did not feature in the top 100. It fell by six places to 101st compared to 2011’s 95th position.

Jennifer Blanke, head of the Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Network at the World Economic Forum, said “industry resilience has been driven by the growth of the middle class in emerging markets, although advanced economies too are displaying positive momentum. Better policies, harnessing technology and facilitating the movement of people over borders will allow the industry to capitalize on this tailwind and support rising prosperity into the future”.

The report revealed that Switzerland, Germany and Austria lead the world in terms of travel and tourism competitiveness, with Spain, the UK, the US, France, Canada, Sweden and Singapore completing the top ten.

Under the theme, Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation, the report assessed 140 economies based on the extent to which they are putting in place the factors and policies to make it attractive to develop the travel and tourism sector.

Australia and New Zealand were on the 11th and 12th positions, respectively, while India emerged on the 65th position. The report noted that Australia’s travel and tourism competitiveness “continues to be characterized by a number of clear strengths, including its rich natural resources and the highest number of World Heritage Natural Sites in the world.”

New Zealand ranks third in Asia Pacific, the report noted. Further, the country continues to benefit from its rich natural resources, with a number of World Heritage Natural Sites and a pristine natural environment. The country’s policy rules and regulations are highly conducive to the development of the tourism sector, with a transparent policymaking.