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Middle East leads the world travel industry boom in 2024

The travel and tourism industry is expected to make a global economic contribution of $11.1 trillion this year

Middle East leads the world travel industry boom in 2024
[Source photo: Krishna Prasad/Fast Company Middle East]

The travel and tourism industry is poised for a record-breaking year, with the global economic contribution expected to reach a staggering $11.1 trillion in 2024, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Within this context, the Middle East is emerging as a leader in the sector’s dynamic expansion.

Fueled by a robust 19.7% surge in travel demand, as reported by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), there’s a concerted effort by countries in the region to elevate their tourism sectors. 

This includes substantial investments, policy reforms, and infrastructure development, with Saudi Arabia leading the pack as the world’s biggest tourism investor, pouring over $800 billion into the sector.

The goal? Not only to surpass pre-pandemic levels but also to solidify a pivotal role in the global economic landscape as the industry ushers in a new era of growth and innovation.

Regional highlights:

Bahrain: Invested over $10 billion in 2023 alone, resulting in a 51% surge in inbound tourists and $2.5 billion in tourism revenue.

Egypt: Achieved a record $15 billion in tourism revenue in 2023 and set ambitious targets to attract 30 million tourists by 2028.

Kuwait: Approved $60 billion for various tourism projects, signaling a strategic shift towards tourism as a revenue stream.

Qatar: Witnessed a dramatic 143% increase in visitors in 2023 and invested $17.5 billion in major projects to enhance the sector.

UAE: Dubai set a new record with 17.15 million international visitors in 2023, while the UAE plans to invest $23 billion in infrastructure.

Saudi Arabia: Welcomed over 100 million tourists in 2023, exceeding its target seven years early, and invested over $800 billion in tourism development.

Oman: Experienced a 38% increase in visitors in 2023 and plans to invest $31 billion by 2040 to attract 11 million annual visitors.

The Innovation By Design Summit is in Doha on April 24. Attendance at the summit is by invitation only. Delegates can register here to receive their exclusive invite.

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