Mideast travel 'to generate $95bn'


The Middle East's travel and tourism sector is expected to generate $95.1 billion in economic activity, and according to a top industry official, it accounts for less than five per cent of the global industry.

"According to the World Travel and Tourism Council's (WTTC) estimate, the Middle East's travel and tourism sector will generate $95.1 billion worth of economic activity in the region. It however, represents less than 5 per cent of the global industry turnover," said Tom Nutley, managing director of Reed Travel Exhibitions, which organised last month's Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai.

"However, it is one of the fastest and most promising region for travel and tourism."

The global industry turnover is expected to cross $4,211.1 billion, according to the WTTC.

Personal travel and tourism will generate $41.9 billion, while business travel will account for $10.1 billion in the Middle East in 2002, according to the forecast.

Capital investment in this year's travel and tourism sector in the Middle East is projected at $11.3 billion which represents 6.8 per cent of the total investments being made in the region in 2002.

The recently released statistics by WTTC also show that the industry is expected to contribute 3.6 per cent to the region's GDP in 2002 which is $30.3 billion.

The sector is expected to generate 13.4 per cent of the region's total exports this year, which is estimated at $28.4 billion.

The industry, by the end of 2002, would employ 2.99 million professionals which is about 8.4 per cent of the total employment in the region.