Tourism made up 14 per cent of Bahrain's GDP, 15 per cent of the UAE's non-oil income and only 0.5 per cent of Qatar's GDP in 1999.
But times are changing. Dubai still leads the charge, but Bahrain is making its move and Qatar is taking steps to build tourism, says a report in "Business Middle East".
Based on visa applications, Dubai welcomed 3.3 million tourists last year and its aim is to have six million tourists by 2006 and 15 million by 2010.
From March 1999 to the same period last year, the number of hotel rooms and apartments for short-term tourist rentals in the UAE grew 14 per cent, says Arthur Andersen Hospitality Consulting in the report.
But Bahrain hopes to reign supreme as the region's tourism centre. Bahrain welcomed three million visitors in 1999, 3.3 million last year and forecasts 8 per cent growth a year for the next five years.
Bahrain also plans to add to its list of 85 hotels and resorts, and 17 hotel apartment blocks.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.