THE OFFICIAL SHOW DAILY——24-27 April 2017 32

With Dubai’s strong tourism offer- ing, high visitor numbers and a spate of new attractions and mega events on the cards, Taleb Rifai, Secretary General for theWorld Tourism Organi- sation (UNWTO), called the emirate a “tourism role model” for the world. The UNWTO & ATM Ministerial

Forum, held under the patronage of HE Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, saw industry leaders discuss strategies for capitalising on


2 Tuesday 25 April 34 Setting standards Dubai praised as it blazes a tourism trail for the region

tourism growth in the region. Ways of unlocking the sector’s potential to meet national agendas for GDP growth and economic diversification were also on the agenda for the day. Focusing on ‘Tourism’s contribu-

tion to sustainable economic growth and diversification in the MENA region’, the forum reiterated the sector’s impact on MENA’s ongoing economic success with leading tour- ism entities sharing blueprints for long- term sector development and the need

for stakeholders to come together to drive future industry growth. UNWTO forecasts that interna-

tional tourist arrivals to the MENA region will grow at a rate that’s well above the world’s average to reach 195 million by 2030, a significant contribu- tion to the global 1.8 billion travellers projected by that date. “Tourism has proven a key pillar of

economic and social development and MENA destinations have the poten- tial to become world leading, but we



now require further collaboration to capitalise on the opportunities avail- able in this sector,” said Mohammed Al Muhairi, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Economy. According to a recent WTTC

report, the total contribution of travel and tourism to the UAE’s GDP was US$43.3 billion (12.1 percent of total GDP) in 2016, and is forecast to rise to US$72 billion (12.4 percent of total GDP) in 2027. Al Muhairi said US$7.1 billion was ploughed into travel and tourism investment in the UAE in 2016, with this figure set to rise almost 11 percent over the next decade to reach US$20.3 billion by 2027. UNWTO’s Taleb Rifai reiterated the

message of collaboration, stressing the need to grow tourism in a “seamless and friendly manner”. “We must cooperate, not isolate

and ensure we link tourism to our national development agendas,” he told delegates. Adopting a collabora- tive approach to sustainable tourism development was essential if national targets for economic growth and diversification were to be met. “What makes our tourism strat- egy truly special are the unique approaches being taken by each of our seven emirates to drive local growth in support of our common tourism goals,” added Rifai. One of the emirates which is

currently spearheading a strategy to focus on the overall contribution of tourism is Ras Al Khaimah, and earlier this year, the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) also became an official sponsor of the UNWTO 2017 Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Speaking at the Ministerial Forum, RAKTDA

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Arabian Travel Market 2017 opened yesterday as the emirate’s leaders looked towards the final countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai. The mega-event is now taking shape and as the show got under- way, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Presi- dent and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, joined HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, as well as top tourism lead- ers to inspect designs of the expo site. Now just a few short years away,

Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to boost the UAE’s GDP by around five percent, equating to a staggering US$23.4 billion, according to investment bank Arqaam Capital. Set to be a major driver of the economy in the UAE and the wider region, the six-month event will create more than 277,000 jobs. The expo is also set to attract 25 million visitors, 70 percent from outside the UAE, making it the most internationally diverse World Expo in history.

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