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
Dinner with a view at At.mosphere, Burj Khalifa
Six year old invited to try Etihad flight simulator
Turkish Kebab Festival in Riyadh
Latest Travel News
Emirates launches US$15 million campaign...
Six year old invited to try Etihad fligh...
Turkish Kebab Festival in Riyadh...
Featured Sights To See
Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center

Houston, United States

The Houston Arboretum and Nature Center consists of 155 acres and is located in Memorial Park.  It boasts a children’s botanical hall, over 5 miles of nature trails, forests, ponds, wetlands, and meadows.  It also has numerous specialty gardens including Hummingbird and Butterfly Island, Sensory Garden and Wildlife Garden.   Address: 4501 Woodway Drive Tel: (713) 681 8433. ...

Prague Castle

Prague Castle

Prague, Czech Republic

You cannot visit Prague without visiting its most famous landmark. Founded in the 9th century by Prince Bořivoj of the Premysl dynasty, the castle grew arbitrarily as subsequent rulers made new additions. All Czech rulers have had their residences at the castle except for the country’s first post-communist president who preferred the comforts of his own home. The castle now stands at almost seven ...

West Lake

West Lake

Hanoi, Vietnam

Ho Tay, or West Lake, is the largest lake in Hanoi and is popularly known as the Lake of Mists. During medieval times, kings as well as warlords had their palaces built on its banks while in more recent times the lakeside has seen the sprouting of villas, hotels and restaurants; and is now a trendy locale which many expatriates and young Hanoians call home. The lake is also steeped in legend and i...

Al Faisaliyah Center

Al Faisaliyah Center

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

This commercial skyscraper is the second tallest building in Saudi Arabia (after the Kingdom Center) and is located in the business district of Riyadh. It contains a shopping center with international brands at its base and a viewing deck on higher floors, as well as a luxury hotel and numerous restaurants. The tower is most famous for the glass globe near its summit. ...