Dubai: UAE’s travel and tourism industry keeps creating jobs, with a further 7,000 new hires set to happen this year. If so, this would be the third straight year of workforce expansion in the industry, with airlines leading the way and now being followed by major hotel operators.
Another reason is that more hotels are scheduled to open through the year, each of which would then set off more jobs.
“With the additional 6,900 jobs forecast for 2023, the sector (in the UAE) is expected to employee 758,000 workers,” said Julia Simpson, President and CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council, which this morning (May 17) released its latest Economic Impact Research.
Travel and tourism businesses in the UAE added a whopping 89,320 jobs last year.
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The sector is to contribute Dh180.6 billion to the UAE economy this year compared to 2022’s Dh167 billion. This represents nearly 10 per cent of the GDP.
The sector’s recovery - driven by increased travel and tourism spending, investments in hotels, government-private sector initiatives – has kept the job creation momentum going.
“These jobs will be created in every aspect – hotels, aviation, airports, airlines, cruise lines, as well as OTAs (online travel agencies) and suppliers,” said Julia.
While businesses have long been trying to pull back employees furloughed during the pandemic, the sector has in fact surpassed its 2019 figures of 745,000 employees in 2022 itself.
Julia said, “The wages would be competitive given there is a shortage of workers in the market. Hospitality businesses are offering greater flexibility to their employees, especially female workers with children.”
Base salaries for executive chefs (depending on the hotel) are Dh48,000 and can go up to Dh240,000, according to PayScale. And hospitality managers can earn anything between Dh10,000 to Dh14,000 at an airline.
“By the end of this year, the sector’s contribution will level that of 2019,” said Julia. “Over the next decade, growth will outstrip the national GDP and create more than 114,000 new jobs, representing one in nine jobs.”
In 2022, international visitors contributed Dh117.6 billion to the national economy, representing a year-on-year growth of 65.3 per cent. In terms of domestic spending, 2022 saw a 35.7 per cent year-on-year jump, reaching Dh46.9 billion, said Julia.
Last year, Dubai was ranked number one among cities with the highest spending by international tourists, earning $29.4 billion.
However, the sector could reach greater heights once Chinese travellers return, said Julia. "One factor is obviously China has only just reopened and if you look at international visitors, the Chinese represent 15 per cent of all international (spend)," she said.
As long as demand outstrips supply, prices would remain competitive, giving governments higher earning capacities.