Resident Attitudes Towards Tourists and Tourism Growth: A Case Study From the Middle East, Dubai in United Arab Emirates

The rapid development of tourism worldwide is giving rise to many anxieties about the actual as well as potentially negative consequences of tourism on host societies. However, despite such concerns, much of the academic research on tourism remains grounded in economic analysis with far less attention being paid to assessing the socio-cultural impacts of tourism, whether real or perceived.
The neglect in this regard is particularly acute when it comes to research on the rapidly expanding tourism industry in the United Arab Emirates. This paper addresses this research gap by way of examining resident perceptions of tourism in the City of Dubai. In particular, this study, which was based on responses gathered from over 400 Emirati citizens, explores local attitudes to further tourism growth as well as resident perceptions of the cultural, economic, and behavioural similarities and differences of tourists and themselves. The general findings are then situated within a conceptual framework (Irridex model) designed to show the varying levels of tolerance of a host population to changes in tourist numbers.

Esmat Zaidan , Ph.D,, Jason F. Kovacs , Ph.D.

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Analysis of ICT usage patterns, benefits and barriers in tourism SMEs in the Middle Eastern countries: The case of Dubai in UAE

Information and communications technology (ICT) are widely used by enterprises to enhance their competitiveness. Travel agents (TAs) are among service providers for whom their integration of ICT and Internet technological capabilities could be the best marketing device and a potential promoter for enhancing their competitive positioning in the tourism sector. The study contextualizes ICT usage patterns in an underexplored context, the Middle East countries. This study provides an overview of the current state of affairs of the ICT adoption in small- and medium-size TAs in Dubai in United Arab Emirates. It investigates the usage patterns of the Internet by Dubai TAs, reasons for using the Internet features of agents’ website content, and perceived significant benefits of e-commerce and barriers to adoption. It is found that the majority of TAs use the Internet for several reasons, ranging from customizing services, attracting customers, communicating with customers, gaining access to international markets, providing TAs with information and finding out about suppliers and competitors. The significant perceived benefits identified in this study are establishing a reputation in the global markets, increasing sales, revenues and profits, improving distribution channels, increasing competitive advantage and customizing services to customer needs. On the other hand, it was found that the principal barriers hindering e-commerce adoption are limited resources versus the high cost of e-commerce adoption, online security concerns, lack of skilled information technology labour, a lack of customer readiness, and a lack of advice and support. The study identified the need for more training facilities for adopting e-commerce in TAs and the need for the government to provide incentives, professional advice, and guidance regarding appropriate e-commerce products and services at an affordable cost for TAs operating in the emirate.

Esmat Zaidan
Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

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The impact of cultural distance on local residents perception of tourism development: The case of Dubai in UAE

Th is study discusses the importance of understanding cultural differences between tourists and hosts for developing positive cross-cultural tourist interaction and its influence on the host’s perception of sociocultural impacts of tourism. A logistic regression model is used to identify the significant positive as well as negative impacts perceived by hosts who view a significant cultural distance between them and tourists versus those who do not. It is found that there is a significant relationship between the perceived cultural differences and the perceived sociocultural impacts of tourism. Th e majority of respondents who do not perceive cultural differences agree to most of the perceived positive impacts of tourism. Th e results of running the regression model have identified improved quality of life as the largest positive impact. Becoming more proud of their city comes next, then improved infrastructure, followed by an increased variety of leisure attractions, and lastly more shopping varieties and facilities. On the other hand, the study found that higher prices for goods and services are the largest perceived negative impact. Tourist’s failure to respect local customs and moral values comes next, followed by community conflict and tension, then loss of cultural identity, and increased crime. Th e implications of the results for tourism industry managements and marketers are presented as well as areas for future research.

Esmat Zaidan, PhD, Policy Development, and Planning, Department of International Aff airs, College of Arts and Science, Qatar
University, Doha, Qatar;

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Dubai as a First-Choice Destination for Saudi Tourists: Analysis of Socio-economic Characteristics, Travel Behaviour, and Perceptions of Saudi Visitors to Dubai

This article examines the demand for Dubai tourism via a binary logit model, using its top source market, Saudi Arabia, as a case study. Saudi Arabia is a relatively mature tourism source market for Dubai, and the results produced should therefore be more representative than those of a sample drawn from any of Dubai’s other tourism markets. The explanatory variables in this model are socio-economic variables such as gender, age, marital status, number of children, income, employment, and education. A total of 1 111 tourists were selected via convenience sampling to participate in a survey. The results show that Saudis’ primary reasons for visiting Dubai are shopping, family entertainment, and youth entertainment. The survey results also indicate that most Saudis visiting Dubai are relatively young single men seeking an open-minded cosmopolitan context where they can enjoy the quality of place and the diversity, openness, and tolerance that Dubai offers. Gender and age are more significant factors for those travelling to Dubai for youth entertainment than for those seeking shopping or family entertainment; marital status, number of children, and income are more significant factors for those travelling to Dubai for shopping or for family entertainment than for those seeking youth entertainment. The study also found that Saudis who travel to Dubai for shopping and for family entertainment tend to visit more frequently and spend more money than those who travel for youth entertainment. The findings suggest that if Dubai is to achieve its tourism vision 2020, maintaining market share across Dubai’s existing source markets, including Saudi Arabia, is essential, as economic and demographic growth will lead to a natural rise in visitors from these markets.

Esmat Zaidan
Department of International Affairs,
College of Arts and Science, Qatar University

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