Hospitality News Middle East - - FRONT PAGE -

The MENA re­gion’s Travel and Tourism in­vest­ment in 2016 sur­passed USD 58 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to a com­pi­la­tion of data re­leased by the World Travel and Tourism Coun­cil (WTTC), with fore­casts in­di­cat­ing that it will top USD 100 bil­lion over the next 10 years. In­ter­na­tional tourist ar­rivals in the re­gion are pro­jected to to­tal over 116 mil­lion by 2027, gen­er­at­ing ex­pen­di­ture of over USD 150 bil­lion.

In­vest­ment lead­ers

With the chang­ing eco­nomic dy­nam­ics, the gov­ern­ments in the re­gion are be­com­ing more in­volved with tourism and hos­pi­tal­ity. Driven by na­tional plans and strate­gies to boost their lo­cal ap­peal, KSA will be, with­out a doubt, the tourism in­vest­ment leader in the com­ing decade, driv­ing pro­jected investments, with over USD 50 bil­lion set to be in­jected into the sec­tor. The King­dom, which launched its Vi­sion 2030 last year, plans to lure vis­i­tors with im­proved visa is­suance pro­ce­dures and by high­light­ing its his­tor­i­cal and her­itage sites.

An­other re­gional leader is the UAE, which has been show­cas­ing its in­fra­struc­ture, land­marks and ad­vance­ments now for sev­eral years. Expo 2020 has repo­si­tioned the coun­try as a tourism hub, with new projects un­doubt­edly set to in­crease foot­fall. Projects in­clude: Eye of Dubai; Marsa Al Arab; Dubai Frame; the Wa­ter Canal; and the world’s tallest tower un­der con­struc­tion at the Dubai Creek Har­bour.

Third comes Egypt which, while hav­ing en­dured in­sta­bil­ity and un­cer­tainty over the past five years, is be­lieved to be poised for re­cov­ery. Not ev­ery­one agrees with this ex­pec­ta­tion, but a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of fore­casts sug­gest the coun­try will be back on its feet and eye­ing a re­turn to its for­mer glory days be­fore long.

High­est in­vest­ment growth

Six coun­tries, in­clud­ing Jor­dan, Egypt, Ye­men, Le­banon, KSA and Bahrain, will al­most dou­ble investments in the sec­tor. Even more sig­nif­i­cantly, the UAE, Qatar and Syria are ex­pected to achieve a 200 per­cent in­vest­ment growth over the next 10 years. Syria’s res­ur­rec­tion, data sug­gests, is al­ready un­der­way, with a few ven­tures ad­vanc­ing, al­beit cau­tiously, with mo­men­tum set to build once the sit­u­a­tion im­proves.

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