KSA and Egypt among the leading destinations in tourism growth


UNWTO World Tourism Barometer figures indicate that the Middle East clocked up 46 million international tourist arrivals in 2007, and that the region continues to be one of the tourism success stories of the decade so far.

“The region is emerging as a strong destination with visitor numbers climbing much faster than the world total, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt among the leading destinations in growth in 2007,” says the UNWTO report. Worldwide there were 898 million international tourism arrivals in 2007, a six per cent increase over 2006.
“Economic and tourism growth are driven by emerging markets and developing economies. While mature markets remain the leading destinations in the world, the faster growth rate of new markets confirms UNWTO’s main message of tourism’s potential for the developing world,” said UNWTO’s secretary general, Francesco Frangialli.
Of the additional 52 million worldwide arrivals, Europe received some 19 million and Asia and the Pacific 17 million. The Americas was up by around six million, Africa by three million and the Middle East by five million.
All the different regions registered increases above their long-term average, with the Middle East leading the regional growth ranking (+13 per cent), followed by Asia and the Pacific (+10 per cent), Africa (+8 per cent), the Americas (+5 per cent) and Europe (+4 per cent).
Against the background of a strong growth of above seven per cent per year since 2000, Asia and the Pacific are also pushing international tourism and attracted 185 million visitors.With an estimated total of 44 million international travellers, Africa confirmed its good momentum, sustaining the growth of 2006 and is now averaging a seven per cent growth a year since 2000.
In 2007, North Africa (+8 per cent) is slightly up on sub-saharan Africa (+7 per cent), primarily due to Morocco’s 14 per cent rise. While in sub-saharan Africa a number of countries have turned in good results, awareness of South Africa has continued to grow in the build up to the country’s hosting of the FIFA Soccer World Cup in 2010.