Tourists at Gold Souk in Deira Dubai. Image Credit: Javed Nawab/Gulf News

Dubai: Spending within the UAE’s travel and tourism sector is expected to rise over the next five years, reaching over $56 billion (Dh205.7 billion) in 2022 as new projects come online.

According to analysis from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, total spending in the sector is projected to increase 4.5 per cent year-on-year in 2017 to reach over $42 billion.

Growth within the travel market will likely be supported by recently-announced projects, including the new IMG World of Legends theme park, Six Flags at Dubai Parks and Resorts, a Formula One theme park at Dubai’s Motor City, and other cultural and shopping venues. A $1.7 billion tourist resort near the Burj Al Arab is also likely to drive spending.

The new projects are part of Dubai’s preparations to host the Expo 2020, and attract 20 million visitors to the city by 2020.

The analysis also showed that the tourism and travel sector accounted for 12.1 per cent of the UAE’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016, contributing $43.3 billion. Leisure travel spending amounted to $31.3 billion (77 per cent of the UAE’s total tourism spending in 2016), while business travel amounted for $9.13 billion.

Leisure travel spending has increased at a compound annual growth rate of more than 9 per cent since 2011, while business travel spending rose at a rate of 10.8 per cent during the same period.

In 2016, a total of 14.9 million leisure and business travellers visited the UAE, marking a 4.9 per cent increase from the previous year.

The number of visitors to the UAE has been growing in recent years, the chamber said, as source markets have diversified. The Middle East was identified as the largest source of visitors, with a share of 28.6 per cent in total arrivals during 2016, followed by the Asia-Pacific region at 25.7 per cent, and Europe at 17.1 per cent.

The analysis from the chamber is based on data from Business Monitor International and the World Travel and Tourism Council.