UAE Shares Best Practices for Creating Competitiveness through Tourism and Economic Diversity

48Speaking at the Global Competitiveness Summit today, the Emirates Competitiveness Council (ECC) shared best practices at a two-day thought leadership convention on competitiveness. Addressing an audience of over 600 policymakers, practitioners and academics, Abdullah Lootah, Secretary General of the ECC highlighted UAE’s strategic approach to developing the country as a premier, innovative destination for tourism and investment, hand in glove with its economic growth and diversity.

Lootah noted UAE’s leadership had a vision for economic development alongside tourism since the inception of the country, laying the foundations for world class infrastructure—sea ports expressways, airports—connecting UAE’s economy to the global economy and bringing in millions of tourists every year. He added that “developing the travel and tourism sector is a fundamental to the country’s strategy as we strengthen our competitiveness as knowledge-based economy, to become a world leading nation in line with UAE’s Vision 2021, for the ultimate prosperity of the people.” Citing Dubai’s recent win of the Expo bid as a dramatic example of what can be achieved through a visionary, strategic, planned and innovative approach to tourism. He stressed that “the Expo’s victory was a win for the entire country. It would not have been possible without the support of the entire nation, and without all of UAE’s touristic assets.”

He noted that the travel and tourism sector is a large component of the UAE’s economy, accounting for 14.3% of GDP and is positioned for significant growth in the coming years as economic, tourism and cultural hub in the MENA region. Lootah further stressed that the sector can yield growth without pressure on resources as it is a highly service oriented sector and a key driver for sustainable development.

Lootah remarked, “The tourism sector is linked by smart government that is driven by very high standards, and on-going coordination and harmony across government entities at all levels, as well as with the private sector.”

The UAE’s is already performing in-step with the leading countries in competitiveness reports for the travel and tourism sector. In the latest edition of the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Report the country was ranked 28th out of 140 countries. In areas ranked by report the UAE is among the top ten in the world, ranking 1st globally for prioritization of the travel and tourism sector, 3rd for air transport infrastructure ranked 9th for travel and tourism business environment infrastructure. In other competitiveness reports that assess infrastructure as part of countries’ overall competitiveness the UAE performs impressively: The Global Competitiveness Report (19th), the Doing Business Report 2014 (23rd), and the IMD Report (8th).

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