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Revealed: overseas tourists worth nearly $28bn to Dubai

Dubai has been ranked the third biggest city in the world for international tourism spending in new report by World Travel & Tourism Council

Dubai has been ranked the third biggest city in the world for international tourism spending with a total of $27.9 billion, according to a new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The council, which represents the global travel and tourism private sector, has released its Cities Report for 2019, which reveals that the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) contributed $92 billion to the global tourism GDP.

The report revealed many cities across MENA make a significant contribution to the city’s overall GDP, with Marrakech’s travel and tourism sector contributing 30.6 percent and Dubai contributing 11.5 percent.

According to the WTTC, Dubai and Riyadh are the most reliant on international visitor spending in the region, with 89 percent and 86 percent respectively of the total travel and tourism spend coming from international visitors.

Additionally, Riyadh sees its international spending per visitor nine times higher than domestic, it added.

In terms of employment, the report showed MENA to be performing particularly well with three of the top 10 fastest growing cities for employment located within the region, including Dubai. Of the top five cities for fastest growth in travel and tourism employment between 2008-2018, Abu Dhabi comes in first with 8 percent growth, with Riyadh (5.9 percent) in third place.

Globally, it showed that the 73 cities analysed around the world account for $691 billion in direct travel and tourism GDP, which represents 25 percent of the sector’s direct global GDP and accounts for over 17 million direct jobs.

The report noted that cities with an overreliance on domestic or international demand can be more exposed to economic and geopolitical crises.

It also highlighted the Saudi city of Makkah for its more balanced split between domestic and international demand – 48 percent international and 52 percent domestic.

Globally, the top 10 largest cities for direct travel and tourism contribution in 2018 offer diverse geographic representation, with cities such Shanghai, Paris, and Orlando all sitting in the top five.

WTTC president and CEO, Gloria Guevara, said: “The cities featured in this report from the MENA represent the critical importance the Travel & Tourism sector has on communities in terms of growth and employment. The cities’ growth and contribution to GDP remind us of the importance of emerging and developing economies within this sector.

“Achieving sustainable growth in cities requires reaching far beyond the sector itself, and into the broader urban agenda. To drive true economic impact that can translate seamlessly into social benefits, a city must engage with all stakeholders, across the public and private sector, in order to establish the cities of the future.”


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