Research Output

Dubai's tourism industry and its societal impact: social implications and sustainable challenges

  This paper initially outlines the principles and strategies underpinning Dubai's ambitious plans to develop a rather unique destination of international distinction. The discussion, however, recognises the challenges presented by the global economic downturn as well as the recessionary measures that Dubai may have to pursue in order to encourage people to travel to the destination in significant numbers. It is proposed that Dubai may have to look to wider market segments beyond the traditional luxury travel market, particularly through the development of budget hotels. This could challenge any productive notion of a socially sustainable tourism environment and intensify prevailing social concerns. The paper then moves onto a detailed discussion concerning the social impacts of tourism development in Dubai. The discussion focuses on ethnic distinctions in migrant housing and geographical location, social ramifications relating to the urbanisation and aestheticisation of space, and limitations in the availability of cultural tourism resources and heritage infrastructure. Finally, constraints are identified in terms of mobilising local employment resources and human capital to serve the tourism and hospitality industry, and with respect to prevailing social issues concerning expatriate employment.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    15 November 2010

  • Publication Status:


  • Publisher

    Informa UK Limited

  • DOI:


  • ISSN:


  • Library of Congress:

    GV Recreation Leisure

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    338.4791 Tourist industry


Stephenson, M. L., & Ali-Knight, J. (2010). Dubai's tourism industry and its societal impact: social implications and sustainable challenges. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change, 8(4), 278-292.



tourism industry, development, Dubai, social impact, sustainability

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