The influx of sports tourists to the UAE in recent months is expected to generate millions of euros for the local hotel and events economy.
As well as hosting the European DP World Tour Championships and Rugby World Sevens, the UAE is one of the top destinations for traveling to the region for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, with daily shuttles available from Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport.
The latest figures from the Dubai Sports Council show that the sports industry contributes more than €2 billion to the economy, accounting for 2.3% of the emirate’s annual GDP.
The DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estate is one of those cash cows. 50 of the world’s best golfers battle it out to be crowned world No. 1 with a record prize money of €9 million.
Some 65,000 spectators, of which more than 18,000 were international tourists, attended the four-day golf tournament.
Simon Cory-Wright, head of tourism development at DP World Tour Championships, said: “A recent study shows that the overall sports economy and Dubai is worth more than $2 billion. [€1.6 billion] Golf actually accounts for $1 in every $6 [€5.50] Spend on sports in Dubai.So, that’s about $350 [€330] Wanye. ”
According to the World Trade Organization, the Middle East is becoming the fastest growing sports tourism destination on the planet, with a market value estimated at €550 billion. The average tourist in Dubai spends around EUR 4,500 on hotel accommodation, transportation, shopping and exploring the city.
Dubai welcomes millions of tourists through its five-star hotel facilities. Jumeirah Beach Hotel has seen a surge in advance bookings this autumn, taking advantage of world sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup and Dubai Iron Man.
Jason Harding, manager of Jumeirah Beach Hotel & Wild Wadi, said: “When the world’s top events such as the World Cup take place, we see a surge in business and it is easy to identify these guests by the clothes they are wearing or they may be training for the competition. We also have the FIFA World Cup lounge when the World Cup starts, and a by-product of that is we have players from Europe coming here for the holidays.”
Sports tourism also generates around 100,000 jobs, accounting for 4% of total employment in Dubai. With more than 400 competitive sporting events held here each year, 130 of which are international, this diverse and crowded lineup has made the UAE a hub for global sports tourism.