Mideast tourism brings $29bn revenue
THE Middle East’s tourism revenues grew 5.8 per cent to $29 billion last year, according to a report by World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The region now accounts for 4 per cent of the world's total tourism revenue, which last year reached $682 billion, a tradearabia.com report quoting from the UNWTO report said.
According to the report, Middle East is the fourth largest earner of foreign exchanges from tourism, followed by Africa, which received $21 billion, or three per cent of the global receipt.
In terms of growth rate, Africa was the fastest growing region with 7.8 per cent, followed by the Middle East at 5.8 per cent.
Spending by tourists abroad now averages more than $2 billion a day, UNWTO said.
'If spending on foreign passenger transport of $130 billion is added, the total export spend is more than $800 billion. This represents some 6 per cent of global export of all goods and services,' it said.
International tourist arrivals grew by 5.6 per cent in 2005. Africa was the fastest growing region with a 10 per cent increase, followed by the Middle East growing by 9.5 per cent, Asia and the Pacific by 7.8 per cent, Americas 6.1 per cent and Europe 4 per cent.
Dubai's hotels and serviced apartments served 6.16 million guests in 2005, 14 per cent more than the previous year's figure of 5.42 million guests, the report said. Hotel revenue in Dubai reached Dh6.37 billion during the first nine months of last year, almost equal to all of 2004.
Bahrain tops growth
Bahrain achieved the highest tourism growth in the GCC in the first quarter of this year thanks to the Grand Prix, exhibitions and conferences and the Eid holidays. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Bahrain has achieved the second highest growth in the Middle East in the first four months of this year. Tourist arrivals soared 30 per cent, way ahead of the nearest GCC rival Dubai, which achieved 7pc growth, according to UNWTO World Tourism Barometer figures released for January through April.