Dubai: Dubai Statistics Center (DSC) has revealed that Dubai’s real gross domestic product (GDP) reached Dh389 billion in 2017 compared to Dh379 billion in 2016, an increase of 2.8 per cent.

According to DSC, the growth was fuelled by the performance of strategic sectors that accounted for 72.2 per cent of total growth in 2017. The transportation and storage sector was the biggest contributor to total economic growth at 18.5 per cent, surpassing wholesale and retail trade, traditionally the largest sector in the emirate. The wholesale and retail trade sector’s contribution to growth stood at 8.3 per cent.

Wholesale and retail trade

“Wholesale and retail trade activity contributed 26.6 per cent of Dubai’s real GDP and grew at a rate of 0.9 per cent,” said Arif Al Mehairi, Executive Director of the Dubai Statistics Center. “This contribution was worth Dh103.6 billion.”

He further said: that growth in wholesale and retail trade activity was accompanied by growth in foreign trade. Total imports and re-exports grew by 2.2 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016. Growth in total imports and re-exports could be attributed to a growth in industrial inputs and capital goods, both of which contributed to the growth of foreign trade by 1.8 and 1.6 per cent respectively.

“These figures provides solid evidence for the fact that Dubai plays a dynamic role in supporting trade between the region and the rest of the world,” he said. “This growing role has boosted the growth of Dubai’s trading sector.”


The transportation and storage sector was the top contributor to the total growth achieved in 2017 with a share of 18.5 per cent. It added a value of Dh46.1 billion compared to Dh44.1 billion in 2016, a growth of 4.5 per cent, Al Mehairi said.

Transportation and storage includes all land transportation of individuals and goods, rail transportation, water transport, handling and storage activities, postal activities and air transportation of individuals and goods, in addition to its supporting activities.

“Air transportation contributes the most to the transportation and storage sector, given its diversified services and support for other sectors,” Al Mehairi added. “Data shows that the two national air carriers Emirates and Fly Dubai account for the largest share of passengers travelling via Dubai airports.”


With regards to manufacturing activity, Al Mehairi said that it contributed 9.4 per cent of Dubai’s real GDP with a total value of AED 36.8 billion in 2017 compared to Dh36.1 billion in 2016. This sector, which grew by 2 per cent contributed 6.8 per cent to economic growth.

“Manufacturing plays a key role in advancing growth and sustainability in Dubai’s economy. The Dubai government has attached paramount importance to this sector through the Dubai Industrial Strategy to ensure high levels of sustainable growth.”

He underscored the fact that certain industries in Dubai are among the world’s leading and most competitive, including aluminium and cable industries, apart from many others.

Real estate

Real estate is one of the sectors that drive the economy in general. It is a key driver of Dubai’s economy as it attracts substantial foreign investment. Dubai boasts advanced infrastructure and logistics services apart from a legislative and administrative system that promotes real estate investment in Dubai.

The real estate sector’s performance is measured based on rental transactions and margins earned from sale and purchase transactions and commissions generated through real estate brokerage.

Al Mehairi said that the real estate sector accounted for 7.1 per cent of Dubai’s real GDP contributing Dh27.6 billion in 2017 compared to Dh25.7 billion in 2016. The sector, which grew by 7.3 per cent contributed 17.6 per cent to Dubai’s total growth.


In 2017, the construction sector showed significant improvement compared to previous years, contributing Dh24.5 billion, which represents a growth of 3.5 per cent compared to 2016. The sector had a tremendously positive impact on the economy contributing 6.3 per cent of Dubai’s real GDP and 7.8 per cent of total growth. The Dubai government’s spending on infrastructure projects, which rose by almost 27 per cent, had a pronounced positive impact on the performance of the construction sector in the emirate.

Accommodation and food service activities

Accommodation and food service activities witnessed a remarkable step-up in its performance with a contribution of 4.9 per cent to Dubai’s real GDP and a growth rate of 8 per cent. It also contributed 0.4 percentage points to total economic growth.

Dubai emerged as a favourite destination for millions of visitors seeking a safe environment for leisure and entertainment, driven by its infrastructure expansion and enhanced land, air and sea transportation. In 2017, the number of visitors to Dubai reached almost 16 million, growing by 6 per cent compared to 2016.