The tourism industry is expected to recover in the Middle East

Dubai aims to receive 25 million visitors by 2025 (Photo by Shutterstock)

The World Tourism Organization, shows that the flow of international tourism to the region increased by 157 per cent in the first five months of 2022. Amad Abdul-Rahman writes.

The flow of tourism to the Middle East may recover 70 percent of its pre-Corona levels by the end of this year, if global economic and geopolitical crises enter do not enter the fray, according to the World Tourism Organization (WTO at the end of July. It also says that indications suggest, that international tourism is showing signs of a strong and steady recovery from the impact of Corona, despite increasing economic and geopolitical challenges.

International tourism recovered strongly in the first five months of this year, with about 250 million tourists, compared to 77 million tourists for the same period in 2021. This means that the tourism sector recovered by 46 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, it says.

The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization Zurab Pololikashvili said, "The pace of tourism recovery has accelerated in many parts of the world, overcoming the challenges facing it." However, at the same time, he warned against being overly optimistic. There were"economic headwinds and geopolitical challenges that could affect the sector in the remainder of 2022 and beyond."

Tourism revenues doubled twice in Egypt during 2021

Tourism revenues doubled twice in Egypt during 2021 to return to 2019 levels before the pandemic, while it grew in Turkey by 100 per cent , but it is still 29 per cent lower than its levels before the outbreak of Corona. Tourism revenues in Egypt exceeded USD 13 billion in 2021, bringing it back to precoronavirus levels, according to Egypt's Ghada Shalaby,, deputy minister of Tourism and Antiquities, in a statement made to Reuters.

Nonetheless, data from the Central Bank of Egypt showed that Egyptian tourism revenues in 2021 were 32 per cent lower than what was achieved in 2019 before the Corona pandemic. It also increased by 102 per cent compared to 2020, to record USD 8.9 billion. Tourism revenues in Egypt declined by more than 66 per cent during 2020, due to the spread of the Corona virus, to fall to about USD 4.4 billion, compared to more than USD 13 billion in 2019. It then recovered about 68 per cent of those revenues in 2021.

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine many foreign investors stopped travelling so the Egyptian economy was hit hard. Russia and Ukraine were also a major source of tourists to Egypt. Tourism contributes up to 15 per cent of Egypt's economic output and is a major source of foreign exchange. This is along with the Suez Canal, expatriate remittances, and exports.

The number of tourists to Egypt reached 3.5 million in the first half of 2021, equivalent to the number of tourists for the whole of 2020, according to the latest announced figures by the WTO In 2010, Egypt reached 14.7 million tourists and revenues reached USD 12.5 billion,. In 2019,the number of tourists reached 13.1 million.

Jordan expects tourism revenues to rise to more than USD 4 billion in 2022

In 2020, the tourism sector in Jordan recorded 1.9 billion dinars (USD 2.68 billion), compared to 1.5 billion dinars that had been targeted by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities.

Nayef Hamidi Al-Fayez, the Jordanian minister of Tourism and Antiquities, said in an interview with the Al-Sharq news website that the ministry aims, to achieve the same record revenues recorded in 2019 by 2024 before the Corona pandemic, amounting to about 4 billion dinars.

Al-Fayez expected an increase in tourism revenues this year, up on expectations of about 2.9 billion dinars (USD 4.09 billion). He said that tourism's momentum had returned and with it an increase in the number of tourists. Tourism in Jordan is a major contributor to GDP and an important source of foreign exchange inflows.

The most prominent tourism targets for the Gulf States

-Saudi Arabia aims to sttract 100 million tourists annually by 2030, raising the sector's contribution to GDP from 3 per cent to 10 per cent and creating one million tourist jobs.

-In the UAE, Abu Dhabi seeks to double the number of tourists to 23 million annually by 2030. Dubai aims to receive 25 million visitors by 2025.

-Qatar aims toIncrease tourism's contribution to the country's economy to 10 pe cent by attracting 6 million tourists annually by 2030.

-Bahrain's Vision 2036 is based on spending more than USD 10 billion on tourism infrastructure، and raising the sector's contribution to GDP to 11.4 per cent, attracting 14.1 million visitors.

-Oman aims to reach tourism revenues of USD 23 billion annually by 2040, increasing the number of tourists to 11.7 million of whom 40 per cent are foreigners coming from outside the Sultanate.

-Kuwait is redeveloping 11 major projects in the hospitality and entertainment sectors.

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Sunday, 25 September 2022