City and State Where Institution is Located

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Dubai as a tourism destination 3

Dubai as a tourism destination

City and State Where Institution is Located

Dubai as a tourism destination


Dubai is a very important destination as far as tourism is concerned. Being the second largest city in the UAE and the most populous, it is regarded as the best and most important tourists’ destination in the UAE. The main attraction for tourists in Dubai is mainly for shopping purposes although there are other numerous tourists’ attraction sites that interest tourists into Dubai. As such, this paper is aimed at discussing Dubai as a tourist’s destination. In this regard, the paper will discuss the current trends in Dubai’s tourism, hospitality and events industry. The paper will then focus on the predictions regarding the industry before discussing the employment opportunities availed by the industry. The paper will then conclude on the suitability of Dubai as a tourists destination based on the discussion below.

Dubai as a tourism destination

Dubai is located on the Persian Gulf’s Southeast coast and is the capital city of the Emirate of Dubai. It borders Abu Dhabi to the South, Sharjah to the Northeast and Sultanate of Oman to the Southeast. As stated above, Dubai is UAE’s most important tourist destination. According to Emirates nbd (2016), Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sector accounted for 5% of Dubai’s total GDP in 2013 with some officials indicating that 20-30% of Dubai’s GDP is tourism related. Dubai received 11 million visitors in 2013 with the number rising by 8.2% in 2014 to 13.2 million visitors. In 2015, the number rose to 14.2 million visitors to become the fourth most visited city globally and this is expected to surpass 15 million visitors (Anderson, 2016). The sector employs more than 430,000 people and with the high growth rates expected for the sector, the numbers are expected to continue increasing.

There are many activities that take place in the Dubai’s tourism sector including the tourist attraction events and activities as well as accommodation activities by the hospitality sector which is a support sector to the tourism sector. The hospitality sector in Dubai boasts of over 93,000 rooms according to go-gulf (2016) whose average level of occupancy is over 86 percent. The events sector is also another important support sector for Dubai’s tourism sector with numerous events taking place in Dubai annually. These events bring with them a lot of visitors to Dubai and this has added to the success of the sector. The events range from business related events, concerts and conferences as well as sporting activities. The most notable is the 2020 Expo which is expected to bring about 20 million visitors to Dubai with more than 277,000 jobs being created. Thus, event tourism is a major part of Dubai tourism sector. There are many more other tourist attractions in Dubai with shopping being the main draw card for tourists in Dubai with the city attracting shopping tourists from countries from within and without the Arab region. A major event in this respect is the Dubai shopping festival that takes place in January each year with the entire emirate becoming a massive shopping mall. Other tourist attractions include Dubai’s rich cultural heritage with Dubai museum being a major attraction in this respect. Other forms of tourism include business tourism and sports tourisms where various sports events take place.

The current trends and predictions

Dubai’s tourism sector has been growing at a relatively high rate in the recent years as stated above. According to Sahoo (2015), Dubai’s tourism sector is expected to grow at 7-9% annually until 2020 when the country’s tourism numbers are expected to hit 20 million. The growth from the current levels is expected to partly come from emerging niche markets that continue to grow. For instance, the events tourism niche market gradually improving. Another emerging niche is medical tourism. It is to be noted that Dubai’s government has come up with policies to promote medical tourism in Dubai with 24 registered medical tourism facilities having come up. It is expected that half a million medical tourists will tour Dubai this year with the numbers being projected to increase to higher levels with time. Sports tourism is another emerging form of tourism for Dubai. This has seen a number of sporting events that takes place throughout the year established. These include Dubai world cup, Dubai classic, Barclays Dubai Tennis, Rugby sevens among others. It is also worth noting that a lot of hotel rooms (approximately 80,000 rooms) are also coming up in preparation for the 2020 expo. In addition, the government has invested USD 32 billion in expanding Al Maktoum International airport at Dubai World Central thus greatly improving its capacity which would be a boost to tourism. There has also been increased credit to transport sector as well as tourism sector according to UAE central bank. All this point to increased tourism capacity for Dubai. Thus, it can be predicted that Dubai will attract more than 20 million tourists in 2020.

Employment Opportunities

The tourism, hospitality and events sector is a major driver of the Dubai economy as far as creation of thousands of employment opportunities is concerned. It is worth noting that these jobs are created directly in the sector as well as in the support sectors such as the transport and construction sectors. According to Abbas (2016), the sector directly contributes to 5.3 percent of the total employment base in the economy. This includes the jobs created in the hotels and accommodation sectors, the events sector as well as those who are directly involved in the tours and travel sectors. Furthermore, the number of employment opportunities in the sector are expected to increase in the near future given the predictions above and the developments taking place in the sector. For instance, Adam and Sahoo (2014) stated that the industry is expected to be the main driver of jobs market ahead of Dubai Expo 2020. According to Dana (2014), this event alone will create more than 275,000 jobs both for the tourism, hospitality and events sector as well as the related support sectors.


This essay has discussed the current state of Dubai’s tourism, hospitality and events industry. The essay has also discussed the trends and predictions about the industry. The sector has been described as a major driver of Dubai’s economy with shopping and cultural tourism being the main driver of Dubai’s economy. One major event dubbed Dubai Expo 2020 has been predicted to contribute majorly towards the achievement of the 20 million tourists mark prediction for Dubai in year 2020. Furthermore, it has been found that the sector is a major employer in Dubai while more jobs continue to be created. Based on the trends and developments described above, it is clear that the sector will continue playing a major role in Dubai’s economy. Thus, on this basis, it is clear that the Dubai 2020 prediction of 20 million tourists will greatly be surpassed if the current trends continue.


Dana, M2014, Expo 2020 will create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the region, Retrieved on 2nd August 2016, from; jobs-across-the-region

Adam, B&, Sahoo, S2014, UAE hospitality industry main driver of jobs market ahead of Dubai Expo 2020, Retrieved on 2nd August 2016, from; of-jobs-market-ahead-of-dubai-expo-2020

Abbas, W2015, UAE’s travel and tourism industry to generate over 5,200 new jobs, Retrieved on 2nd August 2016, from; generate-over-5-200-new-jobs-2015-05-17-1.590956, 2016, Dubai tourism statistics and trends (infographic), Retrieved on 2nd August 2016, from;

Sahoo, S2015, Dubai targets 9% annual growth in tourist numbers as calculation method altered, Retrieved on 2nd August 2016, from; numbers-as-calculation-method-altered

Anderson, R2016, Dubai world’s fourth most visited city in 2015, tourists up 7.5%, Retrieved on 2nd August 2016, from; 2015/#.V6BjaBKbddi, 2016, Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sector overview, Retrieved on 2nd August 2016, from; Emir atesNBD_Research_Sector_Updates_26_Oct_2014.pdf