ABU DHABI // The UAE is focused on tourism as one of the main pillars of the post-oil economy, Sultan Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, has said.

Under the directives of the country’s leadership, the Emirates has developed an economic system based on diversity, innovation and sustainability that achieved an 8.7 per cent GDP growth worth Dh134 billion during 2015, said the minister in an interview with Wam, the state news agency, during the run-up to the Innovation and Tourism Transformation Forum 2016, which will kick off on Wednesday at the Westin Dubai in Al Habtoor City.

“Estimates indicate that the tourism sector will contribute 5.4 per cent annually over the next 10 years to reach Dh236.8 billion by year 2026,” he said.

“The UAE has a rich cultural heritage, natural diversity and developed infrastructure that makes it a strong competitor on the world tourism map.”

According to Mr Al Mansouri, the next stage for the advancement of the tourism sector will require employing potential human capital to realise the ambitious goals of building a diversified knowledge-based, sustainable economy.

This is in line with the vision of the President, Sheikh Khalifa, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

“Our vision is to make the UAE one of the most important tourist destinations in the world. This ambitious vision is aimed at promoting the tourism sector to be one of the most important pillars of the post-oil economy,” Mr Al Mansouri said.