UAE named as WTO's Middle East vice president for October meeting

The Emirates will be represented by its Economy Minister at the conference in Uzbekistan

The UAE's international visitor expenditure stood at more than $32 billion in 2022, up 65.3 per cent annually. AFP
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The UAE will be the UN World Tourism Organisation's vice president for the Middle East at the organisation's 25th meeting scheduled for October in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

It will be represented by Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq at the meeting.

The announcement was made at the 49th meeting of the WTO's regional commission for the Middle East, which was held by the Dead Sea in Jordan this week.

Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Economy, said the Emirates was focused on the development of an integrated tourism sector in line with global standards, which it considered to be a key driver of economic growth.

“This meeting is an important milestone in supporting sustainable tourism development in all countries in the region and creating new growth opportunities for its various sub-sectors through joint efforts,” said Mr Al Saleh, who led the UAE delegation to Jordan.

The tourism sector, an important pillar of the country's economy, has made a strong rebound from the coronavirus-induced slowdown.

The UAE announced Tourism Strategy 2031 in November in a push to boost the sector’s contribution to the national economy to Dh450 billion ($122.52 billion), as well as attract Dh100 billion worth of tourism investment and 40 million hotel guests by 2031.

The sector’s contribution to national gross domestic product jumped 60.2 per cent last year to about Dh167 billion, constituting 9 per cent of the economy.

It is expected to grow to Dh180.6 billion by the end of this year, an annual increase of 8.3 per cent.

“These growth figures reflect the increasing global confidence in our national tourism sector and the outstanding reputation of the UAE’s tourism environment as an ideal destination for both domestic and international visitors,” Mr Al Saleh said.

“This confirms the effectiveness of the sustainable tourism policies adopted by the UAE.”

International visitor expenditure in the UAE stood at Dh117.6 billion in 2022, up 65.3 per cent from the previous year, while local tourism expenditure grew 35.7 per cent annually to Dh46.9 billion.

In the first quarter of 2023, the number of travellers who passed through UAE airports hit 31.8 million, compared with 20.3 million travellers in the same period last year.

Updated: June 09, 2023, 1:17 PM