UAE tops in FDI tourism projects, Bahrain in capital investments; Report

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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The UAE maintained the top destination position for tourism foreign direct investment (FDI) by number of projects into the Middle East and Africa (MEA) in 2020, while Bahrain scored first in terms of capital investment in the region.

According to the FDI Intelligence Tourism Investment Report 2021, the UAE accounted for 58 percent of all FDI projects in the region. The UAE was followed by Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

Bahrain received $492 million in tourism capital investment in 2020, placing it top in the MEA region for the year, mainly due to investments from Emaar Properties, a UAE-based global property developer, and Eagle Hills, a real estate developer. According to the survey, Bahrain ranked first in terms of employment creation in the tourist cluster in 2020, with a 40 percent market share.

Between 2016 and 2020, the UAE was the leading provider of tourism investments, funding in 61 outward FDI tourism projects, accounting for more than half of all outbound FDI tourism projects from the region. Qatar came in second with ten outward investments, followed by Saudi Arabia and Israel in the third position with eight projects each.

According to the report, Foreign investors launched 263 tourism FDI projects worth $21.8 billion in the MEA region between 2016 and 2020. The amount of money invested in the region in 2020 fell by 82 percent from the last year, to $1.6 billion. The number of tourism jobs created in the region has also decreased, falling from about 17,400 in 2019 to around 2,800 in 2020.

The UAE was awarded 30 percent of all tourism FDI projects and 33 percent of tourism capital investment in the region. The FDI Intelligence report said the UAE was also the top country for capital investment, with more than $7.2 billion invested in the country between 2016 and 2020.

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