Middle East travel and tourism sector close to recovering 2019 levels
According to a WTTC report, it could grow to $246 billion in 2022, just 8.9% below pre-pandemic levels
New research from the World Travel & Tourism Council ( WTTC ) has revealed that the Travel & Tourism sector in the Middle East could reach US$246 billion this year, just 8.9% below pre-lockdown levels. pandemic.
In 2019, before the pandemic hit and began devastating economies around the world, the Travel & Tourism sector in the Middle East was booming, generating US$270 billion for the region's economy.
Yet in 2020, when COVID-19 brought international travel to a near standstill, their contribution more than halved, plummeting 51.1%, suffering a brutal loss of over $138 billion. .
The latest research from WTTC shows that as the region continues to recover from the pandemic, with major markets reopening borders and easing travel restrictions, the sector's contribution to employment could almost reach pre-pandemic levels this year.
Research by WTTC reveals that if countries continue to implement the inoculation program at this year's pace and international travel restrictions are eased around the world, 6.8 million people could be employed in the sector by the end of 2022, only 40,000 less than before. pandemic levels.
Julia Simpson, WTTC President and CEO, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant losses in the Middle East travel and tourism sector, but now we have reason for real optimism.
“Since the start of the pandemic, governments in the Middle East have shown a real commitment to travel and tourism. Saudi Arabia, in particular, has shown strong leadership during the crisis and is investing heavily in travel and tourism.
"2022 is poised for a strong recovery if governments in the region continue to open their borders and lift travel restrictions, which will have a massive positive effect on both the economy, society and jobs."
To get close to pre-pandemic levels this year, the WTTC says governments around the world must continue to focus on rolling out the vaccine and allowing fully vaccinated travelers to move freely.
The world tourism body is also urging governments in the Middle East and around the world to ditch the patchwork of restrictions and enable international travel using digital solutions that allow travelers to prove their status in a fast, simple and secure way.