Foreign exchange and money transfer company Al Ansari Exchange recorded a surge in foreign currency exchange transactions made by non-residents during the first 10 days of October, which coincided with the start of Expo 2020 Dubai.
The number of foreign currency purchase transactions by visitors during the period increased by 69 per cent compared with the same period last month, Al Ansari Exchange said in a statement on Wednesday.
The number of foreign currency purchase transactions by visitors in the first 10 days of October was also 9 per cent higher than for the same period in 2019, it added.
“The data demonstrates that the currency exchange sector in the UAE has already begun to experience the positive impact of Dubai Expo 2020, enabling the industry to better position itself for a stronger comeback from the pandemic,” Rashed Al Ansari, chief executive of Al Ansari Exchange, said.
“Apart from the Expo, other factors such as the resumption of flights, especially from India and Saudi Arabia, the return of in-person conferences and events and growing economic activities in the country also played a major role in the growth of money exchange transactions.”
Outward personal remittances from the UAE dropped by 5 per cent – or Dh8.3 billion ($2.26bn) – year-on-year in 2020, according to the Central Bank of the UAE’s annual report. Transfers through exchange houses fell by Dh18.1bn or 13.8 per cent, but outward remittances through banks increased by Dh9.8bn or 28.8 per cent, the report said.
Expo 2020 Dubai, which runs until March 31 2022, recorded more than 400,000 visitors in the first 10 days, figures show. From October 1 to 10, a total of 411,768 ticketed visits were recorded – with one in three visitors having come from abroad.
Dubai Tourism said that it expects Expo 2020 to host more than 25 million local and foreign visitors in its six-month run.
“We project exponential growth in the coming months leading up to holiday season and the conclusion of the premier world exposition in Dubai in 2022,” Mr Al Ansari added.
Al Ansari Exchange accounts for more than 36 per cent of the UAE's remittance market and conducts at least 120,000 transactions per day, according to the statement.