Dubai Retains Spot as the World’s Top FDI Destination for Tourism
With $1.7 billion in FDI across 30 FDI projects during the year, Dubai ranked number one in FDI capital, projects, and job creation in the tourism sector in 2021, according to The Financial Times’ fDi Markets data, a global data source on cross border greenfield FDI investments.
Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum credited the visionary policies of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of UAE, for Dubai’s achievements and its status as the world’s leading tourism FDI destination.
HH Sheikh Hamdan expressed his gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s farsighted vision for creating a resilient financial, economic, and social ecosystem that has set a template for others to emulate.
Dubai has emerged as a key global economic hub and the world’s leading investment destination. Sheikh Hamdan said Dubai’s rank as the top FDI destination for tourism reaffirms the sector’s role as a key economic driver that offers an exceptional opportunity for stable and sustainable returns.
He noted that Dubai’s enabling infrastructure, business-friendly policies, and flexible regulatory environment that kept pace with the needs of global investors would keep it at the forefront of the world’s FDI destinations.
A momentous year
The city rankings of ‘fDi Markets’ are based on investment destinations that attract 10 or more greenfield FDI projects in a year. Dubai’s tourism sector attracted $1.7 billion in FDI across 30 FDI projects in 2021.
The new investments and projects generated 5,545 new jobs during the year, according to the Dubai FDI Monitor report, published by the Dubai Investment Development Agency (Dubai FDI), an agency of the DET.
In 2021, the city led a resurgence in global travel and tourism after COVID-19, celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the UAE, and welcomed the world to Expo 2020 Dubai while emerging as one of the safest destinations in the world.
A five-year lead
The year also marked a successful five-year period during which Dubai stayed ahead of leading international cities, including London, Paris and Shanghai, in attracting FDI into tourism.
Dubai’s tourism sector attracted $22.8 billion in FDI capital across 205 FDI projects during 2017-21, generating 30,082 new jobs.
Dubai welcomed 7.28 million international overnight visitors in 2021, representing a 32% year-over-year growth and underscoring the city’s efforts to become the world’s most visited destination.
The exceptional success of Expo 2020 Dubai, the largest global event of its kind that attracted more than 24 million visitors, followed Dubai’s achievement in being selected as the world’s most popular destination in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2022.
Unique tourism proposition
His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said: “Dubai has created a unique tourism proposition in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The strong investor interest in Dubai’s tourism sector complemented net gains as an investment destination in 2021. The value of total FDI capital flows into all sectors in Dubai exceeded $7.08 billion from 618 announced FDI projects in 2021, with a growth rate of 5.5% compared to 2020.
"Foreign investment flowing into Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sectors and spurring the development of new attractions and destinations are a testament to the sustainability and attractiveness of Dubai’s economy," added Almarri.
An enabling ecosystem
The year 2021 witnessed the most extensive legislative change in the history of the UAE, with more than 40 laws in all fields updated and reformed to accelerate ease of business and ensure hassle-free entry for investors.
A five-year multi-entry visa was introduced for employees of MNCs in 2021, adding to previously launched initiatives. These included the Golden Visa initiative targeting investors, entrepreneurs and specialised talents, and the Virtual Working and Retire in Dubai Programmes.
Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai FDI, said, "the sustained flow of international investments into tourism reinforces Dubai’s status as a magnet for global talent."
“Dubai’s top ranking in terms of jobs created by FDI into tourism proves that the exemplary investment environment developed by the city will continue to attract, retain, and grow financial as well as human capital.”
The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will further reinforce Dubai’s reputation as a global destination for business, investment, and tourism. Dubai 2040 is a comprehensive roadmap aimed at aligning strategic economic priorities and future needs with sustainable development.