Although comparatively small in terms of geography, the United Arab Emirates, with its strong economic growth, strategic location and dynamic leadership has the potential to become one of the world’s leading business and leisure tourism destinations, according to a study to be released at the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference being held in Dubai.
The strength of the tourism industry is highlighted by the fact that travel and tourism economic activity represent 19% of GDP compared with 14% in the United Kingdom and 12% in the United States. In 2006 GDP growth in the UAE was estimated to be over 2.7 times high than the world GDP growth rate.
“Compared with both established and emerging markets, including France, the UK, the US, Russia, Brasil, China and India, the UAE boasts the highest travel and tourism economic activity per capita in the world” said Global Chief Executive of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels Arthur de Haast. “Hospitality real estate developments, along with hotel trading performance, have been burgeoning particularly in Dubai and more recently in Abu Dhabi”.
Over the past five years, hotels in Dubai have seen arrivals increase by a Compound Annual Average Growth (CAAG) rate of 12.3% to exceed 5 million in 2006. The pace of growth in Abu Dhabi is even stronger achieving a CAAG of 13.5% and accommodating 1.3 million visitors in 2006.
The supply of new hotel rooms under development in the GCC sees Dubai accounting for more than 50% of all new hotel development in the Arabian Gulf with 45,000 rooms planned and under development within the next 5 years. Dubai is followed by Abu Dhabi with 10,000 rooms and Doha with 6000 rooms during the same period.
“It is interesting to note that Dubai occupies top spot in the global hotel pipeline” said Jones Lang LaSalle Middle East and North Africa Managing Director Thierry Loue. “Dubai leads Las Vegas, Macao, Beijing and Shanghai in terms of planned hotel development – some of these cities are more than ten times the size of Dubai”.
Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels attributes a wide range of factors to the growth of the hotel sector in the UAE and throughout the Middle East including the growth of airlines, branded real estate, religious tourism and a fast growing business travel market in all key centers throughout the region.
Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels is the world’s leading hotel and hospitality investment and advisory organization operating and has recently opened a pan-regional office in the UAE based in Dubai.