Dubai’s Economy Grew 3.4% In 2011

Improving tourism and strong trade flows helped the emirate’s GDP reach Dhs306.2 billion last year.

Dubai’s economy grew by 3.4 per cent in 2011, with GDP rising to Dhs306.2 billion from Dhs296.1 billion in 2010, according to a report by the Dubai Statistics Center.

The growth figures were boosted by strong trade flows and increasing tourist numbers, Arif Obaid al-Muhairi, executive director of the center was quoted as saying.

Dubai’s foreign trade reached a record Dhs1.1 trillion in 2011, up 22 per cent from the previous year, the customs authority recently reported.

Imports increased 21 per cent to Dhs442 billion, exports rose 44 per cent to Dhs98 billion, and re-export trade grew 18 per cent to Dhs161 billion.

Increasing competition in the local market, openness to international markets, growth in purchasing power, and improving services offered to importers led to the growth in trade, said Ahmed Butti Ahmed, the director general of Dubai Customs.

Dubai’s tourism industry also posted high growth figures last year. The number of tourists visiting the emirate rose 10 per cent year-on-year to reach 9.3 million in 2011.

Hotel establishments in the emirate recorded revenues of around Dhs16 billion last year, an increase of 20 per cent from 2010, according to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

Guest nights also increased 23 per cent compared with 2010, said DTCM.

Meanwhile, experts predict Dubai’s GDP to grow even faster this year.

The emirate’s economy is expected to grow by 4.5 per cent in 2012, according to Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, the chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee. Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) is also forecasting a growth of around 4.1 per cent for 2012.