General Travel News

Middle East and North African tourism to return stronger than before

Participants at the UNWTO/Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event on the Future of Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa held at the World Travel Market were unanimous in agreeing that tourism in the region, which has for long lived with uncertainty and a number of external shocks, will return from current challenges stronger than before (London, UK, 9 November 2011).

“The on-going changes in the Middle East and North Africa bring enormous opportunities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the event. “Rule of law and democracy will empower local communities, opening the door for these to be better engaged in the process of tourism development. There will surely be a more transparent business environment, increased support for smaller businesses, as well as stronger regional integration and cooperation.”
Participants recalled that countries in the region were facing what many others had previously experienced and benefited from – the process of transition into a democratic state.


Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Al Fayez, highlighted the on-going investment projects in the country, as well as the efforts to ensure that the benefits of tourism spill down to the community level. ”Communities are the first to be affected when tourism demand falls and this is why we need to support them,” he said.


Mehdi Houas, the Minister of Tourism of Tunisia, stressed that the country is looking to position its culture, history and people at the center of tourism development and promotion.  


For Egypt, where tourism numbers this year are expected to have fallen by between 20 and 25% compared to 2010, the Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour, said the country was “committed to tourism as a sector which contributes 12% of national GDP.”
Misperception was highlighted as one of the most pressing challenges, with participants stressing that the Middle East should not be seen as one block but rather as different countries with different realities and challenges.


Close cooperation between the public and private sectors was pointed out as one of the keys for success in the destinations of the Emirates and one of the ways to reinforce the growth of tourism in the region.


“The Middle East is rich in culture and people; the sector has been expanding in terms of infrastructure and air capacity. If we work together there is an incredible future for the region,” said Guy Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group in Dubai.


The UNWTO/ATM debate on the Future of Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa set the scene for a new UNWTO/ATM Forum to be held on 30 April 2012 in Dubai in the framework of the Arabian Travel Market (30 April-2 May).


“We expect that the UNWTO and ATM forum will have a significant and positive effect on regional collaboration to sustain growth in the travel and tourism sector here,” concluded Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.”

More General Travel News
Agoda partners with Saudi Ministry of Hajj to try to attract 30 million pilgrims
UAE carriers join hands to celebrate the legacy of Sheikh Zayed on 47th National Day
Discover the making of a Royal Bisht - gold embroidered Arab cloak
Latest Travel News
UAE carriers join hands to celebrate the...
New Istanbul airport starts operations...
Discover the making of a Royal Bisht - g...
Featured Sights To See
Ca' Rezzonico (Museo del '700 Veneziano; Museum of 18th-Century Venice)

Ca' Rezzonico (Museo del '700 Veneziano; Museum of 18th-Century Venice)

Venice, Italy

Ca' Rezzonico is a beautiful palace on the Grand Canal and is most famous for being the final home of English poet Robert Browning, after the death of his wife Elizabeth Barrett Browning. It was reopened in 2001 after a complete restoration. This museum shows the general public the lifestyle in a luxurious Venetian home in the concluding years of the Venetian Republic. Initiated by Baldassare Long...

Senate Square

Senate Square

Helsinki, Finland

Senate Square is the most popular destination within Helsinki. It was built by a famous Russian architect, Carl Ludvig Engel(1778-1840). Today the Senate Square houses concerts, events and a site seeing tour.  The Square occupies a huge area and has a number of monuments and important buildings located on all four sides. •    Lutheran Cathedral This church dates back t...

The Bahrain Fort

The Bahrain Fort

Bahrain, Bahrain

The Qala'at al-Bahrain (Bahrain Fort) is on the northern shore, five minutes from Manama city. The Portuguese constructed the fort in the 16th century, after which it fell into disrepair. However it has now been superbly restored to its former grandeur. Next door to the fort is an unmarked building that is the museum housing numerous artifacts from the ancient Dilmun period through to the Islamic ...

Lake of Tunis

Lake of Tunis

Tunis, Tunisia

Lake of Tunis is one of the city’s most distinguishable sites. Located in the most posh district of Les Berges du Lac which itself means “the bank of the lake”, the lake is a very attractive site for strolls, picnics and relaxation. Many of the coffee houses located nearby offer seating in balconies overlooking the Tunis Lake.  ...