Mideast tourism to generate $66.8bn


THE Middle East travel and tourism industry is expected to generate $66.8 billion ($245.3 billion) in revenues in 2006, according to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts for the Middle East.

The figure will grow to $112.5 billion in 2016.
The sector is expected to contribute $27.3 billion or a 2.6 per cent in 2006 to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), rising to $58.9 billion by 2016. The report also forecasted 4,590,000 jobs in 2006, 10.1 per cent of total employment with an increase up to 6,141,000 jobs, by 2016.
The WTTC reported that various events including the December 2004 tsunami, and the bombings in London and Egypt had localised impact, but did not materially impact global Travel & Tourism, which continues to climb to new heights.
Said WTTC president, Jean-Claude Baumgarten, “We are witnessing the power, speed and vitality of Travel & Tourism and how it can bring economic opportunity and jobs to people and economies around the region that are seeking ways to create sustainable development.
The global activity is setting new records, but what is really amazing is how new destinations like Dubai, Bahrain, Oman, and others are using Travel & Tourism as a catalyst for broader economic development."
Richard Miller, executive vice president said that the years 2004 to 2006 will come to be seen as a period of significant growth as consumers become resilient to natural disasters and terror attacks.