Middle East tourism sector posts impressive growth in 2004
Iran's travel and tourism demand is projected to grow by 6.6 percent for the next ten-year period (2006-20015) topping the list of Middle East countries. According to IRNA, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Wednesday released its ten-year travel and tourism forecasts for the Middle East countries at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, UAE.
The WTTC reported that Middle East Travel & Tourism posted particularly strong growth results for 2004 with Total Travel & Tourism Demand increasing 9.1%, while 2005 is expected to continue building on this new higher level with more moderate long-term growth forecast at 4.8% for the year.
Encompassing all components of Travel & Tourism consumption, investment, government spending and exports is expected to grow 4.8% (real terms) and total $128.6 billion in 2005. The ten-year annualized growth (2006-2015) forecast is 4.4% per annum illustrating the outlook for strong long-term growth.
The increasing successful efforts by Middle East destinations to attract visitors from abroad are expected to push Visitor Exports to nearly $53.0 billion in 2005 or real growth of 8.5%.
Travel & Tourism’s contribution to the regional economy is illustrated by the direct industry impact of 2.7% of total regional GDP and the combined direct and indirect impact of the Travel & Tourism economy expected to total 9.7% in 2005.
Meanwhile, the Middle East Travel & Tourism industry is expected to produce 72,000 new jobs in 2005 over its 2004 level to total 1.4 million jobs or 3.2% of total regional employment. The broader perspective of the Travel & Tourism economy (direct and indirect) is expected to create more than 140,600 new jobs for the Middle East economy for a total of nearly 4.0 million jobs dependent on Travel & Tourism or 9.1% of total employment.
WTTC President, Jean-Claude Baumgarten said, “A growing number of economies in the Middle East have recognized the enormous current and potential impact Travel & Tourism makes and can make on their economies and job creation and have made this industry a strategic national priority. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut are excellent examples of how government and industry leaders can use Travel & Tourism to diversify and develop a broader, healthier and more robust economy, which is less dependent on narrowly focused industries and commodities.
"We’re particularly excited to see these destinations lead the way with new Travel & Tourism development and investment projects ranging from holiday and beach resorts, to world class entertainment, to shopping, dining and cultural attractions. Our research suggests that this visionary investment will lead the way for significant long-term returns in regard to visitor exports, personal Travel & Tourism, and business travel. But perhaps more importantly, this new investment creates opportunities for long-term employment.”