Summary

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a small market, with a population of just 4.3 million, but one that is unusually prosperous (with GDP per head well up to OECD standards) and which has a very high propensity to travel. Dubai is emerging as a major international tourism destination and world airline hub.

High international oil prices have boosted regional prosperity in recent years. In 2001-06 the UAE sustained an average growth in real GDP of 8.3% a year. In current dirham or US dollar terms (which takes into account the additional brought by the surge in international oil prices), GDP increased by 19% a year in 2001-06.

Total outbound trips are estimated, roughly, at 4.4 mn in 2006. They increased by an estimated average of 18% a year in 2001-06 (and much faster in 2004-06).

Outbound travel expenditure was assessed at US$8.8 bn in 2006. On this basis, the UNWTO ranks the UAE 21st in the world.

Europe accounted for about 510,000 (11.6%) of the 4.4 mn outbound trips made in 2006. The leading European destinations are the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Europe's market share has been declining. About 70% of trips are to Middle East destinations, 15% to Asia Pacific, 12% to Europe, just 2% to the Americas (trips to the US fell heavily after 2001), and 1% to Africa.

Careful distinction needs to be made, in terms of the different segments of the market, between UAE nationals (who represent just 20% of the population), 'other Arabs' and Iranians, and professional expatriates. The 45% of the population represented by contract labourers are virtually excluded from the travel market, except to their home countries.

ETC research activities
By subject
& theme
Please insert
your NAME & EMAIL
Thank you.

Thank your for subscribing to our ETC Bulletin. You'll now automatically receive the new releases.

Thank you for your order!

You will soon receive an invoice for your order.
Once your payment has been received, ETC will send you either a watermarked copy (as a PDF document)
or a printed version of the study you have ordered by surface mail.

Would you have 20 seconds to answer to a short question ?

Thank you for your message

We appreciate that you have taken the time to write us. We will get back to you very soon.

Thank you for your message

We have received your enquiry and will respond to you as soon as possible. For urgent enquiries please call us on one of the telephone numbers below.

For our records, please tell us if you are one of the following