According to Morakabati (2013), the tourism industry of UAE has grown rapidly over the past few years and efforts have been made to make it more appropriate and suitable for business travelers, recreation, and international leisure. Dubai has been well known for its ultra-modern shopping malls, hotels, entertainment, and restaurants. The increasing development in Dubai’s Tourism industry has contributed to the increasing growth of UA.E’s Economy. Moreover, UAE’s tourism industry has improved overtime unlike global tourism that has gradually declined as a result of severe economic downturn that affected the world in 2008 and 2009 (Morakabati, 2013).
A report was published by world travel and tourism council in November 2017 stating that UAE ranks 21st in tourism due to its positive influence on the GDP of UAE. According to the report, the tourism of UAE increased its GDP to$19.7 billion whereas the global average remained at 20.1$ billion. According to the same report, around 316,500 jobs are supported by the tourism industry of UAE and the sector is responsible for 5.5 percent of the total employment. Moreover, the employment opportunities are expected to rise in the future due to the growing developments in the tourism industry of UAE (Sharpley, 2002).
Abu Dhabi Vision 2030
When several Middle East countries were affected by global international crisis, development plans were made by Abu Dhabi’s senior strategist. Abu Dhabi is the largest producer of hydrocarbons in the global energy market. As an expression of the common aspiration of the Council for Economic Development of Abu Dhabi, the state and business, the concept of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision until 2030 (Abu-Dhabi 2030 Economic Vision) was formulated, which defines a long-term plan for a significant diversification of the economy and an increase in the share of profits not related to oil production, from 40% to 60%. This ambitious strategic initiative places a special emphasis on building a sustainable economy, social and regional development (Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, 2018)
According to Amir et al (2015), the member of the royal family and the governed officials participated in the meeting that was held to discuss the future developments in Abu Dhabi as part of 2030 vision. As according to the policy adopted in 2007, Abu Dhabi strives to make major developments ensuring safe and secure environment. According to Maj Den Muhammad Khalfan al Romaithi, through the implementation of this plan, the emirate’s vision would be achieved till 2030 (Amir et al., 2015). The plan is to make improvements in five sectors namely economy, social development environment, infrastructure and Government Affairs. The vision 2030 aims to make improvement in the field of health, education, tourism, the judicial system and women empowerment. Moreover, steps to maintain heritage, culture, and Islam were also incorporated into the plan (Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, 2018)
According to Majeed Al Mansoori, the chairman of Department of economic development, the plan was essential for the success of Abu Dhabi’s long-term visit vision 2030. In the past few years, heavy invest was made by the emirate of Abu Dhabi to support policies of diversification. Abu Dhabi’s vision is supported by the implementation of the plan over the next five years. The plan includes government programs and fills the gap between governments own strategic plan and its policies (Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, 2018)
Tourism in Dubai Challenges
In the whole Middle East, Dubai is well known for its brightness and unique entertainment. In recent years, tourists have come across debris in the Dubai portion of the Persian Gulf. Desalinating seawater to supply faucets, irrigated properties and fountains is increasing the concentration of salinity. Beyond its skyscrapers and artificial ski slopes, Dubai brings an alarming account of the dangers behind the construction of super masses in the desert. Ono of the biggest challenges for Dubai is to get clean water which is easily available everywhere, but in the Gulf; it is only fit for consumption with the help of large desalination plants. They produce the carbon dioxide emissions that have made the United Arab Emirates one of the world’s most carbon-emitting countries. The mills still generate an enormous amount of sediment that is pumped back into the ocean(Amir et al., 2015).
UAE has an average water supply estimated for only four days. This margin of scarcity is further reduced by the conspicuous consumption of building icons, such as the Burj Khalifa, considered the tallest building in the world, and that alone consumes the equivalent of the amount of water in 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools per day to keep up, with mild temperatures in the middle of the desert. According to Sharpley (2002), some of the 4,000 drivers of tank cars that transport dumps daily from Dubai to the plant simply drain the cargo into the sewer lines of the fashionable Jumeirah neighborhood, polluting places like the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, where black spots are still seen on rocks near the marina, denouncing the spill of sewage (Sharpley, 2002).
Meanwhile, hundreds of skyscrapers had to rethink their priorities and solutions in relation to consumption and obtaining water and electricity expense; standards and environmental norms are rarely put into practice in construction. Authorities say that the rate of unbridled growth has overwhelmed natural resource sources. Protecting the environment has become challenging task for authorities as a result of growing efforts to meet the demand. The threat of sewage has dwindled since Dubai inaugurated part of the new water treatment plant in the middle of this year, doubling treatment capacity in the United Arab Emirates (Morakabati, 2013). In addition, after the financial crisis that hit Dubai, about 400,000 migrant workers left the country, reducing demand for treatment plants, which currently operate at full capacity. But even these solutions face difficulties. “A lot of good things are happening,” says Mohammed Raouf, environmental director of the Gulf Research Center. “But at the same time, with all environmental laws, strategies and sustainability plans, not everything has been implemented” (Wan, 2015).
Nuclear future – Environmentalists say there are still reports of the dumping of waste in the sewer of the desert. And as the government tries to tackle the problems of water and debris, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are eagerly awaiting the new wave of residents to come in the next decade, implying a new demand for treated water, sanitation, and electricity. Nuclear power provides 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, full-year power, so it’s a compatible solution. However, from the standpoint of sustainability, the use of nuclear power does not make much sense, argues environmental expert Rauf (Amir et al., 2015).
Measures taken by UAE government for economic diversification in Tourism 400
As part of the strategic map for 2020, the responsibility of tourism investment and development division include prioritization of initiatives and strategic planning. The main objective is to transform Dubai in to the most attractive tourist destinations in the world through effective performance management systems and resource allocation. The main responsibility of the destination development division is to outline development briefs in coordination with expert advisors. In order to ensure full implementation of initiatives and plans, tourism sector works with private and public sector. Moreover, through the tourism investment function, projects that have high economic impact and are subsidized by the government tend to control the management, return on investment and transparency in allocation (Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030, 2018)
Dubai today is one of the most desirable tourist destinations in the world, but long ago it was just a tiny settlement area near the shores of the Arabian Gulf. This region, which was maintained by fishing and the sale of precious stones, was originally inhabited by the Turkish people, followed by the Mongols, the Portuguese, and finally by the British. Wan (2015) states that Dubai has developed a lot because of oil money, which has now been invested in the construction of industrial hubs such as biotechnology, semiconductors and electronics, petrochemicals, ores and metals, among others. In these parks, a specific regulatory framework is applied, which favors investments, the rapid installation of new companies and a return of all invested capital (Wan, 2015).
The Dubai government chose to diversify the activities of an economy dependent, in large part, on oil, and increased the service and tourism segment. It was there, between 2004 and 2006 that the real estate boom occurred. The buildings became profitable and the city was transformed. Today, Dubai is known for its impressive megaprojects (Morakabati, 2013). In the urban center, where the business capital of the United Arab Emirates is, emblematic endeavors are located, such as the Hotel Burj Al Arab, the only 7-star hotel in the world; The Palm, an artificial archipelago that can be seen even from space and has, as well as houses, shopping and entertainment areas; The World, which has 300 artificial islands; the largest indoor ski slope in the world, among many others. Dubai also has the highest population density in the country, and its economy is concentrated in different sectors of the rest of the Emirates. Today, the exploitation of oil and natural gas accounts for only 7% of income (Amir et al., 2015).
Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 – The Official Portal of the UAE Government. 2018. Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 – The Official Portal of the UAE Government. [ONLINE] Available at: https://government.ae/en/about-the-uae/strategies-initiatives-and-awards/local-governments-strategies-and-plans/abu-dhabi-economic-vision-2030. [Accessed 18 March 2018].
Amir, A. F., Ghapar, A. A., Jamal, S. A., & Ahmad, K. N. (2015). Sustainable tourism development: A study on community resilience for rural tourism in Malaysia. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 168, 116-122. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814056754/pdf?md5=f7ca79b0fd096413fd9418672ae652fb&pid=1-s2.0-S1877042814056754-main.pdf&_valck=1
Morakabati, Y. (2013). Tourism in the Middle East: conflicts, crises and economic diversification, some critical issues. International journal of tourism research, 15(4), 375-387.
Sharpley, R. (2002). Rural tourism and the challenge of tourism diversification: the case of Cyprus. Tourism management, 23(3), 233-244.
Wan, Y. K. P., & Bramwell, B. (2015). Political economy and the emergence of a hybrid mode of governance of tourism planning. Tourism Management, 50, 316-327.https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/f0b9/ef7a2270d2e158a3dc17e913c6e3d4e9ae40.pdf