The tourism sectors of the Gulf Countries have experienced a huge boom in the recent past that has contributed immensely to the overall economy. Read the following article to know more
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
JRR Tolkein, English Writer and Poet
Travelling for leisure and even sometimes for business purpose is usually termed as tourism. According to the World Tourism Organization tourists are people “traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes”
Today, Travel and Tourism is a booming sector all across the globe. Even in the Middle Eastern countries that are known to the world for their oil reserves and great deserts. In the recent past the Gulf Countries had been promoting their tourism industry to a great extent.
Growth of the Tourism Sector
Between the years 2000 and 2010, the percentage of travellers visiting Middle Eastern countries has doubled to 25 million to 60 million according to statistical data revealed by the United Nations World Travel Organization (UNWTO). The level of growth is almost unmatched by any region of the world; and interestingly it comes during a period that saw political upheavals in several Middle Eastern countries like Iraq, Israel, Syria and other precariousness in the region. Behind the increasing numbers of travellers there are conventionalindulgencesthat comprise Michelin-starred chefs, desert moons, magic carpets, Italian linens, cappuccinos with camel milk and personal butler services.
Do you remember the episode from the film Sex and The City 2, where four friends embark on a trip to Abu Dhabi – to the new Middle East?
Yes precisely and many more. For example, at the Jumeriah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, guests step through a marble lobby that is fashioned with an array of forest materials. The lavish moneyed new face of the hospitality sector has generated several jobs in the Gulf Countries. It is also perhaps one of the best known aspects of Middle Eastern Travel and also in many ways it is the reflection of the success of the emerging economies of the Gulf Countries.
Over the decades, aggressive branding campaigns have been launched by the tourism ministries of the Gulf Countries. In this regard, Dubai’s experimentation with sinking islands of course comes to mind. The shiny advertising and catchy slogans contributed immensely towards the growth of the tourism industry in the Middle East.
Revenue, Investments and Future Growth
Several states and cities have been experiencing a boom in the tourism industry that has boosted the economy of the region to a great extent. Qatar’s travel market has already generated a revenue of $5.4 billion in 2012 which is expected to grow to $7.7.billion by 2014. This not only signifies an expanding tourism industry but also a healthy economy. Numerous investments have been apportionedto tourism related sectors like – travel, accommodation, infrastructure and other related sectors.
On the other hand the travel and tourism sector of countries like Oman and Bahrain are on a roll. Cities like Muscat and Manama (capital of Bahrain) are fats expanding in terms of the hospitality sector. First world economies are capitalizing on the potentials and the Gulf Countries are working towards the development of their industry. These countries have recorded a boom in the tourism industry especially with the increase in expatriate nationals.
Not only leisure tourism but also business tourism is also a boom with European countries like France and Germany investing in the growing economy of the Middle East.
Several kinds of tourism are being promoted by the ministries. These include Intraregional Travel, Religious Tourism and Dark Tourism (involves visit to sites that have been past battlegrounds and centres of political unrest) as well. Among religious tourism, promotion of places includes Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. These cities gathered approximately $7 billion annually in tourism revenue.
On the other hand, the town of Ebril, the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan has own over Sharjah and Beirut in Dark Tourism.
Resorts and upscale hotels define the skyline of most of the Middle Eastern Countries on the present day. Going by the present trends, it can be said that the travel and tourism industry in the Middle East is expected to grow even more rapidly in the near future thereby contributing towards the global economy.