Dubai sees jump in tourism figures, remains world's fourth most visited destination

Dubai’s dancing fountains at Dubai Mall continue to be popular with visitors to the emirate. (Shutterstock)
Updated 07 February 2018

Dubai sees jump in tourism figures, remains world's fourth most visited destination

LONDON: Dubai saw a 6. 2 percent hike in visitors in 2017, surpassing the 5 percent increase year-on-year of 2016 according to the Dubai Media Office.
There were 15.79 million tourists who visited the emirate in 2017 according to the latest data from Dubai Tourism – that is less than 5 million short of the 2020 goal of 20 million visitors per year.
The numbers place Dubai as the fourth most visited destination globally. India accounted for the largest proportion of visitors, delivering 2.1 million people to the emirate, while 1.53 million Saudis and 1.27 million Britons also spent at least one night there.
The news comes just days after it was announced that Dubai International Airport had maintained its place as the world’s busiest for international passengers in 2017 – despite passenger traffic growing at its slowest pace in at least nine years.
Annual traffic increased 5.5 percent to 88.2 million passengers, compared to 83.6 million in the previous year.
Dubai Tourism Director General Helal Saeed Almarri said: “Our strong 6.2 percent growth in 2017 has allowed us to ramp up the pace towards meeting our 2020 targets… With Dubai firmly consolidating its position as the fourth most visited city globally, we remain confident that our performance, backed by the continued strength of our partnerships across government and private sector stakeholders, will enable us to successfully attain our goals of becoming the number 1 most visited city.”
The bulk of the remainder of Dubai’s visitors have also traveled from China, Russia, the USA, Germany and Iran, the report added.
Dubai’s major theme parks: IMG Worlds of Adventures and Dubai Parks and Resorts (DPR) had their first full year of operations in 2017. And new attractions: Dubai Frame and Dubai Safari both were opened at the back end of the year.

Davos organizer WEF warns of growing risk of cyberattacks in Gulf

Updated 4 min 2 sec ago

Davos organizer WEF warns of growing risk of cyberattacks in Gulf

LONDON: The World Economic Forum (WEF) has warned of the growing possibility of cyberattacks in the Gulf — with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar particularly vulnerable.

Cyberattacks were ranked as the second most important risk — after an “energy shock” — in the three Gulf states, according to the WEF’s flagship Global Risks Report 2019.

The report was released ahead of the WEF’s annual forum in Davos, Switzerland, which starts on Tuesday.

In an interview with Arab News, John Drzik, president of global risk and digital at professional services firm Marsh & McLennan said: “The risk of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as power centers and water plants is moving up the agenda in the Middle East, and in the Gulf in particular.”

Drzik was speaking on the sidelines of a London summit where WEF unveiled the report, which was compiled in partnership with Marsh and Zurich Insurance.

“Cyberattacks are a growing concern as the regional economy becomes more sophisticated,” he said.

“Critical infrastructure means centers where disablement could affect an entire society — for instance an attack on an electric grid.”

Countries needed to “upgrade to reflect the change in the cyber risk environment,” he added.

The WEF report incorporated the results of a survey taken from about 1,000 experts and decision makers.

The top three risks for the Middle East and Africa as a whole were found to be an energy price shock, unemployment or underemployment, and terrorist attacks.

Worries about an oil price shock were said to be particularly pronounced in countries where government spending was rising, said WEF. This group includes Saudi Arabia, which the IMF estimated in May 2018 had seen its fiscal breakeven price for oil — that is, the price required to balance the national budget — rise to $88 a barrel, 26 percent above the IMF’s October 2017 estimate, and also higher than the country’s medium-term oil-price target of $70–$80.

But that disclosure needed to be balanced with the fact that risk of “fiscal crises” dropped sharply in the WEF survey rankings, from first position last year to fifth in 2018.

The report said: “Oil prices increased substantially between our 2017 and 2018 surveys, from around $50 to $75. This represents a significant fillip for the fiscal position of the region’s oil producers, with the IMF estimating that each $10 increase in oil prices should feed through to an improvement on the fiscal balance of 3 percentage points of GDP.”

At national level, this risk of “unemployment and underemployment” ranked highly in Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia.
“Unemployment is a pressing issue in the region, particularly for the rapidly expanding young population: Youth unemployment averages around 25 percent and is close to 50 percent in Oman,” said the report.

Other countries attaching high prominence to domestic and regional fractures in the survey were Tunisia, with “profound
social instability” ranked first, and Algeria, where respondents ranked “failure of regional and global governance” first.

Looking at the global picture, WEF warned that weakened international co-operation was damaging the collective will to confront key issues such as climate change and environmental degradation.