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UAE ranked ‘best Arab country’ in WEF’s newly established travel and tourism competitive index

Eye of Dubai, the tourism and investment guidebook and online portal for Dubai residents and visitors, has announced that it will intensify its strategy to boost travel and tourism in the UAE to leverage the favourable results of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) first annual Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), which ranked the UAE as one of the top 20 performers among a pool of 124 countries.

With an overall score of 5.09 out of 7, the UAE outranked its counterparts in the Arab World by securing the 18th place overall in the coveted global list, according to the latest report released by market intelligence firm Madar Research.

Among the three sub-indexes that determined the final rankings, the UAE performed best in the ‘Human, Cultural and Natural Resources’ sub-index, where it was rated third in the world in the indicator measuring ‘national perception of tourism’. The UAE was also highly ranked in the indicator measuring ‘safety and security’, garnering an impressive 10th place in the world standings, deeming the UAE safer than countries such as the United Kingdom, which placed 44th, and the 45th-placed United States of America.

"The excellent performance that the UAE has achieved speaks well of our efforts to promote the country’s tourism environment, particularly in Dubai. With its very diverse population, tourism in a sense has become a way of life in the UAE, a key feature that Eye of Dubai has been aggressively trying to promote. We are also very pleased that the WEF has recognised the country’s positive national perception of tourism," said Abdullah Al Harbi, CEO, Eye of Dubai.

Part of Eye of Dubai’s strategy is to synergise with prominent global exhibitions where it leverages its extensive market reach to promote the excellent investment climate that prevails in Dubai and the rest of the country. Eye of Dubai’s online platform has been fully utilised to enhance the emirate’s marketing and promotional initiatives, while Eye of Dubai guidebooks have been distributed in strategic international networking events to enhance market visibility.

According to the WEF report containing the TTCI, the travel and tourism sector in 2006 accounted for 8.2 per cent of employment and 10.3 per cent of GDP worldwide, triggered largely by the boom in international travel, which grew an average of 6.5 per cent annually over the last 55 years. With its location at the cross-roads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, the UAE has been making huge infrastructure investments to optimise the economic potential of this strategic advantage.

"The WEF has indicated that travel and tourism are critical factors to the economy’s growth. As such, being the country’s premier online reference and guidebook on travel and tourism, we will further step-up our efforts to help facilitate investment opportunities in this rapidly growing sector," said Al Harbi.

The new index measured government policies and other factors that attract business investments to the travel and tourism sector of some 124 global economies, including nine in the MENA region. The TTCI used statistical and survey data relevant to 13 different indicators organised into three sub-indexes, which are Regulatory Framework; Business Environment and Infrastructure; and Human, Cultural and Natural Resources.