Home Travel The Middle East Maintains its Lead in Global Travel Industry Growth

The Middle East Maintains its Lead in Global Travel Industry Growth

Hospitality Industry in the Middle East on the Rise

The Middle East Maintains its Lead in Global Travel Industry Growth

A New Report Shows the Middle East Leading in Post-Pandemic Tourism Recovery

A recent report from HSBC Global Research has highlighted the Middle East as the forerunner in global tourism recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. The report indicates that the region has achieved a full recovery in terms of tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2023, representing a 15 percent increase over 2019 figures. Europe comes in second place, reaching 90 percent of its pre-pandemic visitor numbers.

An interesting finding in the study is that the Middle East boasts the highest percentage of GDP derived from tourism at five percent, which suggests the region is poised to reap the benefits of this ongoing recovery in the coming year. Within the Middle East, both Saudi Arabia and Turkey have almost returned to pre-pandemic levels of tourist arrivals.

In terms of GDP share, Asia Pacific is in the second position, with over four percent of the region’s GDP originating from tourism. Maitreyi Das, the author of the report and an Economist at HSBC Securities and Capital Markets, noted that “the Middle East region saw the strongest performance in terms of recovery in tourism and is the first region in the world to recover beyond pre-pandemic numbers.”

Globally, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have emerged as the best-performing destinations in terms of tourist arrivals in Q1 2023. Turkey also stands out, ranking fourth globally in terms of tourism receipts with an impressive 104 percent increase.

The report also touched on perceptions, indicating that 40 percent of respondents believe tourism recovery has already been achieved in the Middle East, while an additional 20 percent anticipate it will be realized by the end of 2023.

Dubai Stands as a Notable Tourism Success Story

In addition to the broader findings, Dubai, in particular, has exhibited remarkable recovery within the tourism sector. Despite 2019 being a record year for the emirate, 2023 has seen the city surpass pre-COVID figures in various aspects, such as visitor numbers, hotel rates, and occupancies.

According to the Dubai Media Office, Dubai is the world’s fastest-recovering destination globally. During the first half of 2023, the city welcomed 8.55 million travelers, exceeding the 8.36 million achieved in H1 2019. This exceptional performance is particularly noteworthy when compared to the United Nations World Trade Organization’s estimate that international tourist arrivals could reach between 80-95 percent of pre-pandemic levels for the current year.

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