The UAE and Saudi Arabia lead the way as the Middle East expects 33m leisure travellers this year, according to the WTM Global Travel Report.
The study shows that the strong performances from Saudi Arabia and the UAE are behind the Middle East tourism industry’s full recovery from the pandemic.
This year’s figure is significantly up on the 29m leisure travellers in 2019.
This 13% increase means that the Middle East is the only region fully recovered from the pandemic in volume.
When measured in dollar terms, the Middle East leads the way, in growth terms, with a 46 per cent increase in inbound spend compared with 2019.
The Middle East is also outperforming all other regions for domestic travel, which has grown by 176 per cent since 2019, albeit from a low base.
The success of the region’s recovery from the pandemic is driven by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with their commitment to tourism showing signs of success.
The report notes that “both countries are investing heavily in tourism infrastructure, viewing tourism development as a key strategy to diversify away from hydrocarbons reliance.”
Inbound and domestic in both markets is fully recovered from the pandemic.
For Saudi, inbound is outperforming 2019 by 66 per cent in dollar terms, with the UAE registering a 21 per cent increase.
For domestic visits, the countries are ahead by 37 per cent and 66 per cent respectively.
The next year is also looking good for the region’s overall inbound and domestic market as well as its two major markets.