THE tourism sector is becoming increasingly important in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) in terms of investment, job creation, competitiveness and quality.
Many Mena countries perceive tourism as the best long-term alternative to the oil industry on which the region has been heavily dependent.
Working initially with colleagues from Libya, Egypt and Oman, researchers in the Welsh School of Hospitality, Tourism and leisure management have established the Middle East and North African Tourism Research Centre (Menatrec) to act as a catalyst and umbrellas for tourism research and development for the region. Menatrec will focus on tourism development issues in the Mena and is proposed as a driving force to maximise the benefits of the tourism industry whilst preserving the region’s unique culture and identity.
According to Dr Eleri Jones, Director of MENATREC and head of Welsh School of Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure management at the university of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Menatrec will provide a vehicle for institutional collaboration and capacity building in relation to tourism research and will enable tourism researchers to network and collaborate in bidding for contract research projects.