General Travel News

Middle East and North African tourism to return stronger than before

Participants at the UNWTO/Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event on the Future of Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa held at the World Travel Market were unanimous in agreeing that tourism in the region, which has for long lived with uncertainty and a number of external shocks, will return from current challenges stronger than before (London, UK, 9 November 2011).

“The on-going changes in the Middle East and North Africa bring enormous opportunities,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, opening the event. “Rule of law and democracy will empower local communities, opening the door for these to be better engaged in the process of tourism development. There will surely be a more transparent business environment, increased support for smaller businesses, as well as stronger regional integration and cooperation.”
Participants recalled that countries in the region were facing what many others had previously experienced and benefited from – the process of transition into a democratic state.


Jordan’s Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Al Fayez, highlighted the on-going investment projects in the country, as well as the efforts to ensure that the benefits of tourism spill down to the community level. ”Communities are the first to be affected when tourism demand falls and this is why we need to support them,” he said.


Mehdi Houas, the Minister of Tourism of Tunisia, stressed that the country is looking to position its culture, history and people at the center of tourism development and promotion.  


For Egypt, where tourism numbers this year are expected to have fallen by between 20 and 25% compared to 2010, the Minister of Tourism, Mounir Fakhri Abdel-Nour, said the country was “committed to tourism as a sector which contributes 12% of national GDP.”
Misperception was highlighted as one of the most pressing challenges, with participants stressing that the Middle East should not be seen as one block but rather as different countries with different realities and challenges.


Close cooperation between the public and private sectors was pointed out as one of the keys for success in the destinations of the Emirates and one of the ways to reinforce the growth of tourism in the region.


“The Middle East is rich in culture and people; the sector has been expanding in terms of infrastructure and air capacity. If we work together there is an incredible future for the region,” said Guy Crawford, Chief Executive Officer of the Jumeirah Group in Dubai.


The UNWTO/ATM debate on the Future of Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa set the scene for a new UNWTO/ATM Forum to be held on 30 April 2012 in Dubai in the framework of the Arabian Travel Market (30 April-2 May).


“We expect that the UNWTO and ATM forum will have a significant and positive effect on regional collaboration to sustain growth in the travel and tourism sector here,” concluded Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.”

More General Travel News
Marshmello, Pitbull, Shaggy and Don Omar perform at the Diriyah Music Festival in Saudi Arabia
Jazeera Airways launches flights to Karachi
Emirates expecting over 500,000 arrivals into Dubai by early September
Latest Travel News
Jazeera Airways launches flights to Kara...
Emirates expecting over 500,000 arrivals...
Kazakhstan's new tourist attraction - fa...
Featured Sights To See
English Garden

English Garden

Munich, Germany

These gardens date back to 1789. Englischer Garten or the English Garden begins at the very center of Munich and continues north for 5 kilometers. The park is divided into two distinct sections and has the river Isar running through it. Here you can see all kinds of activities taking place, including joggers, cyclists, strollers, skateboard and roller blades, horse riders and even surfboarders tak...

Finnish National Opera

Finnish National Opera

Helsinki, Finland

Located by the Toolo bay, the National Opera House of the country is given utmost importance for it revives the culture and history of Finland in theater and film making. The Opera house is owned by the state and is in perfect condition for visitors and Helsinkians to visit occasionally for upcoming performances. It is equipped with the latest technology, has two spacious auditoriums and a 120 mem...

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Los Angeles, United States

The Walt Disney Concert Hall has a stainless steel exterior and took 16 years to build under the watchful eye of Frank Gehry, who was the architect behind this masterpiece. It is home to one of the world's most developed acoustical system and can seat upto 2,265 people. If you go on the tour of the Hall, make sure you get a peek of the huge organ that contains over 6,000 pipes.    ...

Cong Vien Van Hoa Park

Cong Vien Van Hoa Park

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

This club was once used by French colonists. It is shaded by trees and has a number of tennis courts, a swimming pool, a gymnasium and table tennis facilities. Early in the mornings, the art of thai cuc quyen [slow-motion shadow boxing] is practiced. Location: 115 Nguyen Du St, District 1                  ...