How Do Weather Patterns Affect Tourism in the UAE?

Abstract

The current study evaluates the concept of climatic variations with a focus on the United Arab Emirates. Changes in the weather conditions present an important debate that ought to be handled with seriousness and appropriate approach Weather patterns have a significant impact on the number of tourists visiting a region and even threaten business operations in the area. They also play major roles in tourist decision-making processes. For example, the weather tendency can be used by a tourist destination to prepare the necessary staff and equipment.The study at hand collected primary data by issuing interview questionnaires to respondents. A total of 50 visitors were interviewed for the survey. The analysis investigated the effect of weather pattern to tourism in the UAE region.

The work will help to determine the most important aspects that attract tourists to the country. The results of this study may also be used to develop strategies that may be important for the tourist agencies and even enterprises. The obtained information may also be valuable in assisting management of various activities for enhanced economic values and even social purposes. Furthermore, results detailed in this study are drawn from an array of strategies applicable in the destination as well as enterprise levels to improve any prevailing weather condition.

INTRODUCTION

In the contemporary times, tourism is no longer considered to be an occasional or even a past time activity for those in the higher social class in the communities (Vij & Vij, 2012).It is noted that almost every industry and career revolves around the tourism industry. There is a broad category of activities that are now practiced in the tourism industry, for instance, hotels, the catering and also the entertainment sector. Tourism is shown to have an immense effect on the economic status of the host country. The host state experiences an increase in the profit growth, and the country gets to increase its popularity. Tourism is known to have both positive and adverse effects on the host country, and especially the environment, where Dubai is a good example.

Climatic conditions of a place play an important aspect in the tourism activities (Helmy, 2011). Climate represents long-term weather conditions. On the other hand, weather is the manifestation of the climatic condition for a given place over a certain period. Therefore while a tourist may have the knowledge of a particular place’s climatic condition, however, when arriving at the site, they may experience a different weather condition that may be quite distinct from the normal climatic condition. It is thus worthy to conclude that tourism may be affected by the prevailing weather conditions. On the contrary, progressive changes in the weather may be experienced as projected. For example, there may be forecasts on the changes on the weather levels, shifts in rain patterns and even experiencing wetter or even drier conditions. For the reasons stated above,, it is necessary for tourist destinations and even tourist to understand the probable climatic variations and also have an understanding of the effects of the said weather conditions on tourism.

The choice of a tourist destination is majorly affected by the prevailing weather patterns. Som people prefer to visit places that have a different climate from their living area. Due to its location in the Middle East, the UAE has sweltering weather in the summer and cool weather in the winterAs such, resorts and hotels have air-conditioned systems that provide the most favorable conditions for tourists and guests during the hot weather in the summer. Likewise, some tourists like to visit the UAE during winter to enjoy the moderate climate and escape from the freezing weather in their natural environments. Besides, all facilities in the UAE are designed to beat and heat with cooling systems that will not affect the tourists; therefore, they can enjoy visiting these facilities all year round for examples museums and shopping malls. The research at hand thus investigates the role of the weather conditions in the tourism industry in UAE.

Goals of the Study

Examine tourists views about the weather conditions in the UAE and how it affects their decision making.
Investigate the weather patterns that affect the tourism sector in the country.

Statement of the Problem

It is without a doubt that weather and climatic conditions of a place play a significant effect on the tourist activities in an area. While many strategies have been achieved in the management of prevailing condition from one industry to the other, the tourism sector in UAE has not been adequately analyzed with regards to weather patterns. One of the main purposes of the current work is to recognize and analyze weather patterns that affect those vising the UAE. Currently, there are no studies that have been carried out to investigate the topic.

Goals

The study objectives are the following:

Study tourists views about weather patterns in the UAE.
Identify visitors expectation about the weather conditions in the UAE.
Assess the extent to which weather condition affect their travel decision making.
Determine the extent to which weather patterns affect tourist decision.

Significance of the Study

Tourists always have certain weather expectations with regards to their tourism destinations. However, when they get to the tourism points, there is change in the weather patterns and as such get different experiences (Eugenio-Martina & Campos-Soriac, 2010). Itis evident that weather conditions are essential for many reasons, and one of them is health (Amelung, Nicholls, & Viner, 2007). Therefore, the paper presents weather patterns in different parts of the country.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Overview of the Climatic Conditions of United Arab Emirates

UAE is located in the Southwest of Asia. The region lies on the Arabian Peninsula. UAE is a union of seven nations, Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Quwain, Ajman, Ras Al Khaiman and also Fujairah. An arid climate characterizes the region. During the summer times, the area is noted to be scorched (Becken, Wilson & Reisinger, 2010). The periods span from April to September. During the time, the temperatures are recorded to reach a high of 48 degrees. with subsequent humidity levels of 90%. Additionally, the regions around the southern desert record highs of up to 50 degrees. The population of the region has a tendency to be on the rise, mainly due to the constant increase of the expatriate population and the need for the labor force. Indeed, the population growth of the region has been recorded to be the highest over the past decade. More than three decades ago, the population of the region has been registered as 300 000 to about 4 million in the year 2004 (Prayag, Rezwan, & Hosany, 2013). With regards to the high population growth rate, rapidly growing the economy anddry weather and even the global climate change, there is a need to understand the effect of weather patterns, and particularly with associations with tourism.

UAE can be classified into three main ecological clusters, the coastal regions, mountainous regions and the desert regions. Additionally, the majority of the region, averagely four-fifths of the UAE can be classified under the desert climate, particularly in the western areas. The region is also noted to have numerous offshore islands along the Arabian Gulf. The area has salt marshes and even coral reefs with significant annual rainfall. Vast climatic conditions of the UAE are characterized by long stretches of desert climate with interspersed oases. Although, the UAE climate is described as an arid area with oceanic effect. The region is strategically placed next to the Arabian Gulf and also the Gulf of Oman (Prabhu & Subramanian, 2014). During the winter seasons, the regions are shown to exhibit warm and dry weather, while the coastal region affects the weather with humid and increased temperatures, especially during summer. However, the regions of Al Hajar are noted to have cool temperatures due to its proximity to the Gharbi Mountains. Thewinter seasons in the regions are between November and March.

Effects of Climatic Variation on the Environment in UAE

According to an intergovernmental panel meeting, which was held on the April of 2014, with regards to climate change, it was reported that global warming could claim the lives of maritime habits. The ecosystem is seen to be at high risk was the mangrove swamps as well as the coral reefs. The region has mandated the issue of climate change as one of the top priority of the issues. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that it is not the UAE region alone that is facing climate change. From a global perspective, climate change is a worldwide phenomenon. Furthermore, regions like Asia have also been noted to be under stresses due to a combination of environmental factors There is a rise in the salty oceanic water which in turn affects the freshwater swamps found in the coastal regions. At the same time,there may be a reduction in the population of the mangroves and the salt marshes if they will not shift to the islands. According to a study by Winckler (2010), continuous destruction of the coral reefs is thought to be caused by the rise in the sea levels, an incident that has been on the increase over the last decade. It is also thought that the coral reefs will continue to be on the damage in the next decades due to global warming as well as oceanic activities such as acidification.

Tropical, as well as the subtropical waters, are continually warming up, as such, a decline in the biodiversity. However, the rain patterns, as well as the effect of water availability in the region, have not been fully analyzed. Additionally, the region is also lacking detailed information on the consequences of climate change on biodiversity.

Weather Patterns and Tourism in UAE

UAE is one of the fastest growing states in the world in terms of of its economicstatus. The region welcomed about 15 million tourists in the year 2014 alone. The region is also termed one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world. Tourism and weather patterns are often perceived as correlated phenomenon. For the tourism industry to experience the expected success, weather patterns have to play an important role. On the other hand, numerous scholars have shown that tourists tend to determine their tourism destination with regards to the weather patterns. As pointed by Amelung, Nicholls, and Viner (2007), the study indicated that weather and climatic conditions paly significant roles in the implications for the temporal as well as spatial tourism characteristics. Furthermore, there are numerous debates nowadays times that have focused their attention on the impacts of climate change with regards to various daily activities.

Climate change is responsible for the weather patterns in a global context. On the other hand, the UAE is recognized as one of the highest leading tourist attraction destination sin the world (Amelung, Nicholls, & Viner, 2007). On the contrary, the regions have recorded a series of challenges with regards to health and even non-heath issues. Subsequently, many tourism destinations have recorded experienced dynamics in the weather patterns.
Correspondingly, it is noted that climatic conditions are the primary reasons for the tourism decision their tourism destinations. Notably, health plays a significant role in tourists determining their destination and particularly choosing UAE as the choice of destination (MacDonald Gibson et al., 2013, p. 215). There are number of people who may find the high temperatures unsuitable due to health conditions (MacDonald Gibson et al., 2013). There are some other factors that play significant roles in limiting UAE as the tourist destination choice, factors such as destruction of the coastal line and even the vulnerability of the ecosystem due to the rising sea levels.

The effect of weather patterns on the tourism sector is dependent on kind of tourism as well as the temporal characteristics of the region. Besides,weather patterns are often described with characterized that are stable and known of the area as opposed to the occasional phenomenon. Subsequently, the issue of weather predictability is possible for the various stakeholders in the tourism industry. Tourists learn the weather patterns of a place that causes seasonality and be psychologically prepared on what to expect in their destination. What is more managers and are also able to predict possible weather outcome and decide on the risk measures that may deem fit. Hence, it would be worthy to note that the need to have weather conditions is dependent on the tourism product. The issue of whether in tourism is currently perceived from a less complicated point, the managers need to identify the tourism product package and view it from particular points such as staff in the facility, facilities available as well as the environment. Factors that ought to be invested in a tourism facility have been analyzed, and the most fitting combination may be decided on with regards to the tourist destination.

Forecasted weather conditions can be identified, monitored and even controlled with the application of management schemes. In a number of countries, there are measures that have been put forward in the management of the weather conditions, with operative anticipation as well as management of risks (Michael et al., 2011). The tourism sector is a fragile concept is vulnerable to numerous of weather conditions. Extreme weather conditions may result in factors such as reduced number of the visitors in a region, water shortages during drought periods, disruptions of transportation and infrastructure. Some areas may even experience landslides or earth movements, a phenomenon which is not good for tourism (Michael, Armstrong, Badran & King, 2011). Flooding in the coastal regions, strong wins and storms may hinder movements in water bodies, disruptions of ICT which may be as a result of flooding or strong rains. Weather may also impact tourism when there is a fractured link in the food as well as drink industry, probably due to disrupted transportation. Public health issues come as a matter of concern due to the prevailing weather.

In the current times, there has been extreme weather conditions recorded in various places. For example, winter sports have been highly affected due to the reduced quantity of snow. Furthermore, during the seasons when there is plenty of snow, there are disruptions such as blocked roads and even limited access to the slopes. The recorded changes in the weather patterns can be credited to the ongoing global warming that is experienced globally. Correspondingly, there have been noted weather conditions in the drought regions. For example, in Australia, the drought period in April 2011 was shown to have at least two wild fires that were further propagated to the high lands by strong winds (Michael et al., 2011). The fire effects were devastating with death records noted. In such situations, fires are known to have devastating effect on the ecosystem and even man made projects and a direct impact on the tourism performance.

On the contrary, tourism can be perceived as a two edged sword that cuts on both the negative and the positive to a region (Stephenson, Russell, & Edgar, 2010). Hence the debate, what is the impact of tourism to the environment? While it is clear that activities on the environment affect the weather patterns which in turn affects tourism in an area, is there any role tourism is playing on effecting the environment? A number of studies have also been used to show the negative effects of tourism. With high traffic of tourism, there is increased pollution to the environment.

As a matter of concern, it is noted that tourism, just like any industry is responsible for a substantial amount of environment pollution. Additionally, the industry is noted to generate high volumes of wastes. For example, one cruise ship is shown to have an average of 7000 tons of wastes in the water bodies on an annual basis. It is further noted that areas with high traffic of tourist experience a correlated amount of solid wastes. Likewise, the sake of aesthetic purposes, pollution has been on the increase in countries like Dubai. For instance, the construction of the artificial island on the coast-line of Dubai has contributed to the increased pollution in the country. The artificial islands give the region a reputation that has raised concerns among environmentalist. While Dubai launched the construction of “Palm Jumeirah” “Palm” and “The World” islands, with the aim of creating a high end tourism destinations, the aftermath effects on the natural environment is yet to be noted. As such, the weather and climatic conditions is expected to change. As noted in Dubai alone, the rates of air pollution alone have doubled over the past decade. Pollution in Dubai and the Safa areas are almost equal in measure (Stephenson, Russell, & Edgar, 2010). On the other hand, a stretched use of the natural resources is shown to be hazardous to the environment. A strained pressure is also exerted on the minerals as well as fresh water, energy, cultivatable land, wild animals and even forests (Stephenson, Russell, & Edgar, 2010). Indeed, numerous researches have shown that environmental degradation and climatic alterations are manmade calamities.

The UAE region is an important tourist destination, and it is thus important to take the environmental and weather precautions as the developments are continuously made. Dealing with the weather forecasting events is recommended for the planning of services in the tourism sector. Weather dynamicshas always been an issue in the UAE regions (Stephenson, 2014). On the other hand, it is not that tourists do not always visit the region because of the weather conditions, but there are other factors that play significant roles in the tourism attraction. It is known that the main attraction in the region is the scenery of the man-made structures and the landscape. Culture and history region on the other hand do not play important factors in the tourism of the region. Subsequently, meeting and socializing are some of the factors that have been associated with tourism in the UAE.

METHODOLOGY

Target Population

The target population for the study was comprised of international tourists from all over the world as well as local tourists. The international tourists are a target population for this study because they are from different parts of the world with different climates and their decision to tour UAE could be the key to understanding the objectives of this study which mainly aimed to find out the influence of weather patterns on tourism (Higham and Hinch, 2002). The local people of the UAE also travel to tour different parts of the state and hence they are also a good target population for the study as they can help to understand how weather patterns affect tourism and how their travel within the UAE is influenced by weather patterns.

Sample Size

The sample size chosen was 50 individuals. The paper aimed at handing out 50 questionnaires to persons who were touring the UAE. This sample size ensured that the survey would produce results that were reproducible and reliable to make conclusions on the objectives studied. Such a sample size is an estimate and hence, in the end, the sample size will depend on the number of applications from tourists interested in being a part of the study. The applications will be online or on I phones.

Sample Technique

Random sampling was used. It is the sampling technique whereby tourists in non-specified areas were requested to apply online as participants of the study or using their I phones. There were no specific qualifications for a tourist to apply so long as one was a tourist they were a potential participant in the study.

Data Collection

For this particular study data collection was performed by use of questionnaire interviews. The questionnaires were present online for both international and local tourists participants to fill in They contained the following questions that the tourists answered so as to provide the necessary information required (See Appendix). The questionnaire had twelve questions that aimed to find out whether the tourist was a local or international tourist, their marital status, and most importantly whether the weather conditions of the area or region they planned to tour was a consideration or concern for them before they decided on their travel destination. It aimed at understanding if there was a weather preference as tourists settled on their trip destination, and to understand the reasons behind the choices especially if the travel destination was in the UAE.

Data Analysis

The questionnaires received back from the tourists by the study group were analyzed, and scores were given for each question.The questions that were not answered by the tourists were not scored. Comments were noted and recorded as scores based on their similarities. These scores were then tallied and the results recorded as in the table of results presented in the results section indicated below

Problems Experienced in Data Collection

Some of the challenges that were encountered during sample collection included:

  • Uncooperative tourists who were not willing to answer questions from the questionnaires directly but gave a lot of side comments that could not be included in the analysis of the results.
  • Some of the tourists requested to fill the questionnaires over a long timeframe and did not mail the questionnaires back or emailed them back when it was too late, and the analysis had already been completed.
  • There seemed to be very few local tourists as compared to the international tourist who might have created bias in the results.
  • A number did not answer all the questions provided or simply did not give explanations for some of the answers that they gave.
  • Several people complained that they did not understand the questions on the questionnaire and hence they did not answer the questions adequately.

These problems created some difficulties in the study and might have affected the study and created some bias as some of the parameters of the study were not adequately met.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Discussion

Groups of Results

According to the results achieved from the study, it was clear that there was a division in the answers received in the study. There seemed to be a clear pattern of tourists who were concern about the weather of their potential vacation area and those who were not very concern about the weather patterns of their travel destination. In the study, there were interviews from international and local tourists. The focus of the paper was on UAE as a travel destination. The weather pattern in the UAE is mostly all year round hot and dry.

Most of the international tourists indicated that they do make an effort to confirm weather patterns of their travel destination before they embark on travelling. Very few local tourists indicated weather patterns as a major concern while planning their vacations within their country of origin. Local tourists indicated that they did not feel the need to confirm the weather patterns as they were conversant with the climate of their country though they did agree that the weather patterns did influence where they chose to vacation within their country. They indicated that this exercise was important for them as they got to understand how much they would spend on their vacation as well as which activities they could plan ahead for their visits. It also assisted them in being cautious about what they needed to carry for example sun block in hot travel destinations, and this helped them save costs as by avoiding the need to buy the sun block in the country of their travel destination.

Most of the tourists who said that they do find weather as a concern when it came to travelling said that confirming the weather patterns of their travel destination helped in proper planning of their vacations and saving time and money while in their travel destination. It was so, according to them, because were informed and knew all the fun ways of enjoying the weather while in a foreign destination.

A substantial amount of local tourists and a few international tourists indicated from the interviews conducted that the weather pattern of their travel destination was not a big concern in their decision making when it came to making decisions on where to travel. The local tourists mentioned that this was mainly because they were used to the weather patterns of their country and would only be a concern if they were travelling to a part of the country where the weather was totally different than where they came from. If that was the case, they said that they would then just park for their journey appropriately according to the demands if their travel destination within the country but the weather pattern would not make them shy away from visiting any part of their country. Those international tourists who were not very concerned about the weather of their travel destination indicated that they were adventurers who were willing to travel with the aim of adjusting to challenges. Hence, they did not feel the need to plan so much before embarking on their journey as they enjoyed the surprise that they encounter in term of climate. In fact, they enjoyed the process of adopting as far as the essentials they indicate that if any particular requirements were in order, they would just buy them at their travel destinations.
Overall, the results denoted that the international tourists are the most concern about whether patterns while local tourists are mostly aware of their country but are not too concern about the weather pattern affecting their decision making in where to tour.

Summary of Finance Implications

After the analysis of the results especially from the interviews conducted via questionnaires, it is clear that the weather pattern of a touring or travel destination does affect how much a tourist whether local or international will spend on their vacation. Specific weather patterns are associated with specific travel essentials. If a tourist is traveling to a hot country, they need to keep in mind the necessity of sunscreen, some umbrellas for shade, proper attire to wear in sunny weather. On the other hand, an individual who is traveling to a snowy country needs to put in mind travel essentials such as warm clothing, skiing outfits for their fun outdoor activities as well as other necessities. All the essentials for travel come with their costs aside for the vacation fee. They are an added cost but these essentials are influenced by weather patterns of the tourists’ travel destination. Therefore, it is important that a tourist is aware of the weather patterns of their trip destination as this can assist them in deciding how much to spend on these essentials influenced by weather patterns, and how much they would need to keep aside for this purpose.

Thus, the weather of a travel destination does influence the finances that the traveler or the tourist uses in their vacation. There are specific essentials that a tourist requires as they travel in addition to the vacation money. Despite that, specific activities that can be done in particular weather pattern found in specific countries of travel have their special costs that can affect the decision making on where to vacation by the tourist. It is vital to understand that various weather patterns come with different costs to the traveler as the activities that one can have on vacation are also influenced by the specific weather patterns of the travel destination.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Recommendations include the following:

Due to lack of general information on the topic of how weather affects one’s touring destination as a local or international tourist, there is a need to have more studies done on how weather patterns influence one’s decision in traveling.

It is also important that a study be conducted on how weather patterns affect the finances of a tourist so that it can be a topic that is elaborately covered.

It is also paramount to keep in mind that other factors influencing tourism be studied to understand the decision making behind where and how tourists whether local or international decide to choose on their travel destinations.

Benefits of the Research

The study has many benefits for potential travelers and tourists whether international tourists or local visitors. It shades light on the importance of weather patterns especially those of UAE in decision making for tourists. It also brings to light the importance of weather patterns when it comes to decision making for visitors on where to vacation (Tolba & Saab, 2009). For example, most tourists were asked whether they would travel or tour the UAE in hot and humid weather and some indicated that they absolutely would while others indicated that they would not travel to the UAE during the hot and humid weather ever. It is a sign that the climate of specific tourist destinations can be very significant when it came to tourists choosing where to tour to for their holidays.

As indicated throughout the study, the weather is a key influence on the activities that one can do while on vacation. The weather patterns of a specific destination dictate the activities that one can engage in while on holiday and most tourists would like a weather change from their usual weather pattern while on vacation.

The research also brings to light the financial implications that weather patterns can have when it comes to planning for a vacation. Due to specific weather patterns in different travel destinations, there is a need to have specific travel essentials while one is traveling. Such essentials can be costly for a tourist who is already incurring costs on the vacation itself. Moreover, because the weather patterns dictate the activities that one can have while on holiday there is a need to remember that these activities have different cost implications as well and hence it’s a necessity to note that weather patterns will also affect the finances of a tourist whether international or local.

The paper at hand study also promotes tourism as a whole as it focuses on tourism and some of the factors that affect this sector. It also gives an insight into how tourists plan and decide on where to vacation. It provides decent information for potential tourists and can help them plan their vacation effectively as well.

Conclusion

The research was conducted to understand the influence that the weather of a specific destination has on the tourism industry of that specific destination. Different parts of the word boast different climates and weather patterns. Various parts the world are cold, and, while some regions are hot, other areas are usually rainy while other areas are snowy. Different tourists seek different activities during their vacation get away. Such a difference could be attributed to where they come from as they seek a change in weather pattern from where their homes.

Weather conditions of a given area can shape the activities that can be done during vacations in that specific area. For instance, , if a destination is snowy it might be famous for vacationers or tourists who seek to ski or mountain climb during their holidays. Rainy areas such as the Amazon rainforest may be suitable for tourists who seek an adventure in the jungle. However, hot territories like Africa, the Caribbean, and even UAE can be suitable for tourists from a cold country who seek to vacation in the Savannah while watching wildlife in its natural habitat on sandy beaches and shelter under palm trees or some might even want to take up a desert safari. These options are dictated by the weather conditions of the area the tourist plans to visit and can help a tourist from a country with little warm climate to enjoy some fun in the sun.

Therefore, weather patterns of travel destinations can influence the tourism sector of that specific area. Even though not all tourists have the climate of their tour destination as a major apprehension, as seen in the study, there is the necessity to comprehend the climate patterns of one’s travel destination as it can help them plan for their voyage effectively. They can understand what to expect and what they need to carry to avoid inconveniences.

Therefore, the study under review intended to inform on the need of comprehending the weather conditions of tourist’s travel destination, as well as enlighten on how these climate patterns manipulate the tourists decision in choosing the country they choose to take their vacation. It is paramount to have these details as a traveler as they help one to plan ahead on vacation activities and also guides them in what to carry for their vacation and what to leave behind. An informed tourist at the end of the day is a satisfied customer. It is found that even the tourism agents in specific countries will offer a daily weather forecast on their websites as they advertise the services they offer in their country.

Appendix

The questionnaires handed out had the following questions:

You are and what is your age?
International tourist (Age……)
Local tourist (Age……)
Gender: Male/Female

  • Where do you come from?
  • Status: Single/Married/Divorced/Widowed
  • Do you usually check the weather of the country you plan to tour before touring?
    Yes/No
  • What kind of temperatures do you expect in the UAE during summer?
  • What kind of temperatures do you expect in the UAE during winter?
  • When do you visit the UAE during the summer or the winter season? Why?
    Summer/Winter
  • Would you visit the UAE even when the weather is hot and humid like in the summer? Why?
    Absolutely/Never
  • Do weather conditions of the place you plan to visit affect you decision in deciding where to vacation? Why?
    Yes/No
  • Travelling to a hot country requires certain essentials such as suitable clothing and sun block, do you take into consideration this essentials?
    Yes/No
  • Do you think that they should be variety in the weather conditions of UAE to meet the tourist’s needs?
    Yes/No