Members of the Federal National Council (FNC) on Tuesday expressed dismay at the very small percentage of Emiratis in the fast-growing tourism sector, calling for urgent government efforts to attract young nationals into the sector.
According to members, the lack of interest among Emiratis to join the tourism industry was because of poor incentives.
Chaired by Speaker Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, the session was attended by Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development; Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water, who is also the Chairman of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, and Dr Anwar Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Minister for FNC Affairs.
Responding to member Misbah Al Kitbi’s question on what was being done to get UAE nationals in the tourism sector, Shaikh Nahyan, who is also the Board Chairman of the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities, said: “I agree the number of Emiratis is too low in the sector, and we need more. But the fact is that they prefer other government jobs because of incentives and job security reasons. A study shows that there are only two per cent of Emiratis in the sector, which is very small. Similarly, the number of Emiratis is also low in other private sectors.”
Many initiatives are being taken to attract more Emiratis, he said. “A law is being drafted to encourage, train and organise Emiratis to become tour guides. Under the law, they will have better incentives and specialised training programmes.”