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‘Gulf Schengen’ will revive Mideast tourism: WTO

In 2023, the global count of international tourists reached approximately 1.3 billion people, signaling a notable rebound in international tourism that approached pre-pandemic levels when the figure stood at 1.5 billion in 2019.

A report from the United Nations World Tourism Organization anticipates a full recovery of international tourism in 2024 from the impact of the pandemic, which had paralyzed the sector four years earlier, reports Al-Qabas daily.

The recovery is attributed to growing demand, expanded airline routes, and the resurgence of Asian markets and destinations.

Notably the report highlights that streamlining travel conditions among Gulf Cooperation Council countries, akin to the Schengen agreement will play a pivotal role in revitalizing tourism in the Middle East.

Preliminary indicators from the organization reveal that international tourism revenues reached $1.3 trillion, representing close to 93% of the $1.5 trillion achieved in 2019. Furthermore, tourism’s contribution to the global gross product reached 3% in 2023, totaling $3.3 trillion according to GDP calculations specific to direct tourism.

The report emphasizes that the recovery in tourism during 2023 was particularly robust in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. The Middle East witnessed a remarkable 22% growth in tourism traffic, surpassing 2019 levels.

Europe, recognized as the world’s top destination in terms of tourist demand, showed a remarkable recovery, reaching 94% compared to 2019 levels. This resurgence was fueled by the recovery of tourism between countries within the continent and an uptick in visitors from the United States.



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