ABU DHABI // Only 2 per cent of those working in tourism are Emiratis, the FNC heard on Tuesday.
A study by the National Council for Tourism and Antiquities found UAE nationals shunned working in tourism for the same reasons that they preferred government jobs.
"I agree with the [FNC] that more Emiratis are needed in tourism, for economic reasons and security," said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, chairman of the national council and Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
Sheikh Nahyan said the council was taking a steps to increase Emiratisation in the sector.
He said the study results for tourism were close to those for the whole private sector, and that a law was being drawn up to encourage more to tourism and organise the tour guide profession.
“In our strategy for 2014 to 2016, we will give priority to bring more Emiratis to the field through programmes and training locals, and prizes for those who excel in the field,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
He said the Cabinet and the FNC would be consulted.
Mosabeh Al Kitbi (Sharjah) said he was pleased with the tourism council’s efforts, but it was crucial to have Emiratis as tour guides as “expatriates may be giving a bad image for the UAE”.
Mr Al Kitbi said his statistics showed only 1 per cent of those in tourism were Emirati, but 2 per cent was still too low given the rising unemployment rate.