Dubai merges economy and tourism departments

New unit aims to increase the value of the industrial sector to the economy, expand foreign trade and attract 25 million tourists by 2025

Dubai hosted 2.85 million international overnight visitors from January to July, according to government data from Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Reem Mohammed / The National
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, issued a directive to merge the emirate's Departments of Economy and Tourism in an effort to boost the emirate's competitiveness.

The merged unit, called Dubai's Department of Economy and Tourism, will help to expand foreign trade and increase visitors to the emirate.

“The newly formed department seeks to support the economic and tourism transformations taking place in the emirate. It will adopt the same competitiveness and efficiency of the private sector and work together with it on various development projects,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a statement released by the Dubai Media Office on Saturday.

“Dubai’s economy has witnessed different phases of development throughout its history, which has helped shape the city’s current status as a model for economic development and a preferred destination for tourism. Today, our ambitions have grown bigger and our priorities have changed. Raising our global competitiveness requires new ways of thinking.”

The merged unit, called Dubai's Department of Economy and Tourism, will aim to increase "the added value of the industrial sector, expand foreign trade and attract 25 million tourists by 2025", Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said in a tweet on Saturday.

The changes in the government sectors "reflect the new vision of Sheikh Mohammed" to further "transform Dubai’s development and reinforce its status as one of the world’s leading cities", he added.

Sheikh Hamdan thanked Sami Al Qamzi, former director general of Dubai Economy, for his contributions.

Helal Al Marri, who was recently appointed as chairman of the new board for the Dubai Financial Market, is director general of the new department.

"The two departments played a pivotal role in consolidating Dubai as an economic and tourist capital. The next stage requires a high competitiveness of the emirate, which requires complete harmony between the two sectors," Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai, said in a tweet.

The new department is tasked with meeting seven targets to further strengthen Dubai’s leading position in tourism and economy and make it the world’s best city to live in and work, Sheikh Mohammed said.

These include increasing the value of Dubai's industrial sector to the economy by 150 per cent in the next five years, expanding export markets for local products by 50 per cent and increasing the number of tourists coming to Dubai by 40 per cent to 25 million visitors by 2025, according to the statement.

The newly launched entity is also tasked with making Dubai one of the top five global cities in major economic indicators, attracting 100,000 companies in three years as well as 400 global economic events annually by 2025. It is also responsible for encouraging private and family-owned businesses to list on the Dubai bourse, the Dubai Media Office said.

“Our message to the department’s team is that Dubai today is different than yesterday. The future of Dubai will depend on your performance, ideas and efforts,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Dubai was among the first cities globally to re-open its economy for business in July 2020, while ensuring strict compliance with health and safety measures. The emirate hosted 2.85 million international overnight visitors from January to July 2021, according to Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

The new entity will also work to promote Dubai’s competitiveness in attracting foreign investments, increase exports, support SMEs and develop new plans for new economic sectors, the Dubai Media Office added.

The ultimate goal of restructuring the two departments is to "create a government model that is flexible, efficient and rapid in taking decisions. The new structure will also help facilitate and reduce procedures related to the issuance of trade and tourism licences to further promote Dubai’s competitiveness and achieve the optimum usage of the human and financial capital", the Dubai Media Office statement said.

Dubai’s non-oil sector continued its growth for the 10th consecutive month and ended the third quarter at its highest three-month average since the end of 2019, with the emirate’s Purchasing Managers’ Index at 51.5. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion, while one below points to a contraction.

Confidence in the travel and tourism sector reached a five-month high in September and outpaced the rest of the non-oil sector of the economy, according to IHS Markit’s Dubai PMI. Travel and tourism companies saw a sustained upturn in sales in September, which some respondents linked to increased demand in the run-up to Expo 2020.

Hotels in Dubai recorded a surge in occupancy rates in September, boosted by the easing of travel restrictions and the countdown to Expo 2020 that began in October.

The average occupancy rate rose to 67.2 per cent in September, jumping 51 per cent compared to the same month last year, according to hospitality data and analytics specialist STR.

Updated: November 06, 2021, 1:12 PM