The Impact of Tourism in Dubai

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Tourism is no more an occasional past-time for wealthy and adventurous people. Nowadays, everyone is participating in the tourism industry, may it be a catering company, a hotel or an entertainment business. In fact, tourism has an impressive impact on its host country’s economy. It increases growth rate, national profit, investment and country celebrity as well, going from short term to long term improvements. However, it has crucial negative impacts on other sectors, mostly, the environment. Gradually, the ecosystem has been affected taking with it an increase of pollution and a decrease in natural resources of the country. Dubai is good example to take in order to analyze the impacts of tourism on the short and long runs, taking into account its advantages and disadvantages on the economic and natural environment of the country. Dubai is a fast growing country which will welcome 15 million tourists by the year 2010 according to Salem bin Dasmal, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Tourism Development Company (DTDC). (1) Hence, a huge number of investments have been accomplished in order to get prepared for the coming visitors. Therefore, the impact it is creating, both positive and negative, is the topic we will discuss afterward. Indeed, tourism has many harmful impacts on the environment. It increases pollution in many ways. We will focus, on the second part of this paper about how does it happen, what measure the national government have taken and what can be done to decrease those side effects of tourism.


Dubai makes a considerable promotion of the country to give a positive picture known as one of the best destination in the world. The economy has been boomed over years thanks to the development of the tourism sector, by the improvement of infrastructures in the country. Dubai has betted huge investment on this area: especially roads, airports and now the construction of metro. Truth is that “the number of tourists who came to the Middle East in 2000 increased by nearly 10 per cent to 20 million. This surge is attributed to the major economic development and investment in the area's tourism infrastructure” underlined Anne-Birte S. in her article (1). This action will facilitate the flow of tourism coming to Dubai. As a result, consumption will go up knowing that prices of most products have increased recently. Therefore, profit will rise ending up with an augmentation of national profit (GDP).

Secondly, the hotel industry has known an unbelievable expansion during the past years. In 2004, the overall hotel industry in Dubai generated annual revenue of around 5.5 billion dirham; 70 percent of which belongs to five star hotels (around 3.8 million dirham) according to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Figure 1, Dubai Tourism (2)). Plus, the creation of kilometers of hotels will generate more tourists in the country; hence, more profit, more investment and even more tourists, which will go one as a cycle.

Thirdly, entertainment in Dubai has been a major focus of the local government. Tourists have a variety of choice; starting from desert safaris with dune driving, barbecues and shishas, to aqua-parks with Wild Wadi, Dreamland and Wonderland. Not everyone could have believed that in a desert of 50 degree, there will be a place called Ski Dubai where one can find a weather of approximately minus 4 degree. This is why the number of tourists is exponentially growing in the country. The amount of profit the country is benefiting is indeed important for the nation. Nevertheless, Dubai is investing a lot in its region starting from the Dubailand to Burj Dubai. About Dubailand, Salem bin Dasmal says that “the US $5.7 billion Dubailand project is the region's - if not the world's - biggest tourism, entertainment and leisure development and it is only right that it participates in the region's biggest travel, tourism and hospitality...
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