UAE and Travel & Tourism competitiveness: let’s give some numbers


uae safest countryThe World Economic Forum (WEF) has recently published the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, which index measures “the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which in turn, contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country”.

The Report is based on an in-depth analysis of the Travel and Tourism competitiveness of 136 economies across the world.

UAE ranked overall 29th/136, with outstanding scores in some sectors. Let’s see them one by one:

  • Business Environment (based on the extent to which a country has in place a conducive policy environment for companies to do business): UAE ranked 5th (preceded only by the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Singapore and Hong Kong).
  • Safety and Security (based on the extent to which a country exposes tourists and businesses to security risks mainly related to serious harm to people (violence and terrorism): UAE ranked 2nd (preceded only by Finland).
  • Health and Hygiene (based on the access to improved drinking water and sanitation is important for the comfort and health of travelers. In the event that tourists do become ill, the country’s health sector must be able to ensure they are properly cared for): UAE ranked 63rd.
  • Human Resources and Labour Market (based on the availability of quality human and how efficiently human resources are allocated in their most efficient use): UAE ranked 23rd.
  • ICT Readiness (based on how developed is the ICT infrastructure in a country as well as how extensively it is used by individuals and businesses in the country): UAE ranked 15th.
  • Prioritization of Travel & Tourism (based on the extent to which the government actively promotes and orchestrate the development of the T&T sector): UAE ranked 31st.
  • International Openness (based on how open a country is to people travel and services): UAE ranked 75th.
  • Price Competitiveness (based on how costly it is to travel or invest in a country): UAE ranked 56th.
  • Environmental Sustainability (based on the extent to which environmental protection limited to those aspects that impact tourists directly): UAE ranked 40th.
  • Air transport infrastructure (based on the extent a country offers sufficient air connectivity for travelers’ access to and from countries, as well as movement within many countries): UAE ranked 3rd (preceded only by United States and Canada).
  • Ground and Port Infrastructure (based on the availability of efficient and accessible transportation to key business centres and tourist attractions): UAE ranked 19th.
  • Tourist Service Infrastructure (based on the availability and the quality of key tourism services such as quality accommodation and car rentals): UAE ranked 27th.
  • Natural Resources (based on the available natural capital as well as the development of outdoor tourism activities. Natural capital is defined in terms of landscape, natural parks and richness of the fauna): UAE ranked 91st.
  • Cultural Resources and Business Travel (based on the availability of cultural resources intended in a broad sense including archaeological sites, entertainment facilities and conferences. To a large extent this pillar captures how cultural resources are promoted rather than the actual existing cultural heritage of a country): UAE ranked 50th.


In short, United Arab Emirates continues to be the most Travel & Tourism competitive country by far in the Middle East and North Africa region. Its performance continues to improve and to offer an outstanding business environment (click here to know why start a business in UAE ), with advanced ICT readiness along with one of the best air transport infrastructures in the world, in terms of connectivity and quality of the service. It is also one of the most secure destinations and has a well-developed hospitality and entertainment infrastructure. To improve its competitiveness further, the UAE should focus on becoming more open, expanding its health facilities and making better use of its natural and cultural resources.


Mara Di Marco
General Manager, UAEstablishment