Sunny outlook for UAE as tourist figures are on the up. The United Arab Emirates, including Abu Dhabi & Dubai, are enjoying healthy tourist figures, according to the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority & Dubai International.
We’re not even halfway through 2011, but it has been an up and down year so far on the travel front. Natural disasters and political upheavals have made travel somewhat unpredictable, but despite these factors, the UAE has managed to emerge as a safe haven for both business and leisure.
Dubai, for example, welcomed no less than around 26.6 million tourists last year to its warm, palm-fringed, sun-soaked shores. Landmark properties such as its spectacular sail-shaped “floating” hotel, the Burj Al Arab together with the world’s tallest tower, the iconic Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai (which houses the glamorous Armani Hotel) have made it one of the world’s true larger-than-life holiday destinations, at times making Hollywood look small. And all eyes have been on Abu Dhabi which is still on track with its 2030 plan, hitting the spotlight again with the opening of Ferrari World.
There’s more to come – Saadiyat Island, including an $800 million dollar Guggenheim Museum and the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be among “coming soon” attractions. This year also sees the opening of the highly-anticipated Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, the Dubai-based luxury hospitality company’s first entrée into Abu Dhabi.
Even the skies above the UAE are getting busier, with considerably more air traffic and passengers passing through Dubai’s International Airport, as more people fly in and out of the region’s main holiday destinations. The Middle East is well placed as a global hub and for connecting flights on long distance routes.
Not to be left out, Qatar – the world’s fastest-growing economy – is investing heavily on infrastructure in the lead up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup which it’s looking forward to hosting. As with other member countries of the UAE, the rise in tourists visiting will help shift its economic revenue away from oil and gas and more into leisure and tourism.