The UAE continues to be one of the world’s most competitive economies for travel and tourism, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The UAE, which welcomed millions of foreign guests in 2015, has been ranked number one in the Middle East region for business environment, safety and security, human resources, transport infrastructure, ICT readiness and international openness, among many others.
Overall, the report, which is released every two years and rates the travel and tourism competitiveness of 136 countries, ranks the UAE the 29th most competitive globally. The UAE is followed by Qatar in the overall ranking for the Middle East, with Bahrain, Israel and Saudi Arabia bagging the rest of the top five.
Rounding up the top ten most competitive economy for travel and tourism in the region are Oman, Jordan, Iran, Lebanon and Kuwait.
The UAE’s business environment has been ranked fifth best overall, while its safety and security has been rated second best in the world, next to Finland.
It was announced early this year that the UAE will grant visas on arrival to visiting Russians, among the biggest contributors to travel and tourism spending in the country.
The country logged 14.4 million foreign visitors in 2015, up by four million compared to two years earlier. The UAE’s overall ranking in the WEF report, however, fell by a few places because other destinations, such as South Korea and Greece, have performed exceptionally well during the review period.
“The United Arab Emirates continues to offer an outstanding business environment to invest in travel and tourism activities (ranked 5th globally), with advanced ICT readiness (15th best in the world) and one of the best air transport infrastructures in the world (3rd), in terms of both connectivity and quality of the service,” said the report.
“It is also one of the most secure destinations (2nd), and has a well-developed hospitality and entertainment infrastructure (27th).”
The WEF report also noted that, while some countries still have very restrictive visa policies, there is a growing number of destinations that have loosened their requirements, making it now easier for travellers to visit destinations and stimulating global tourism and trade in the process.
“The travel and tourism industry continues building bridges rather than walls between people travelling across borders and global trends towards adopting less restrictive visa policies,” the report states.