The MENA region has contributed US$92bn (AED 337.8bn) to the global travel and tourism GDP figure in 2018.
The Cities Report for this year collated 73 major tourism cities from around the world. Together, these cities generated $691bn in direct travel and tourism GDP.
Travel and tourism sector jobs in MENA were seen to make a significant contribution to a city’s overall GDP. For example, Marrakech’s travel and tourism industry contributed 30.6% while Dubai’s contributed 11.5%.
A key finding for the MENA region was the international visitor spending figures. Dubai came in as the third largest city globally in terms of international visitor spending, equating to $27.9bn. Of Dubai’s travel and tourism spending, 89% of it is international. The World Travel & Tourism Council explained this could make Dubai’s tourism economy highly susceptible to external forces.
KSA’s Riyadh was in a similar position, with 86% of its spending in the sector done by international visitors.
Of the top 10 fastest growing cities in terms of travel and tourism GDP, two of them are located within MENA, with Marrakech growing 10.8% and Cairo growing 9.9%.
WTTC’s president and CEO, Gloria Guevara said: “The cities featured in this report from the MENA represent the critical importance the Travel & Tourism sector has on communities in terms of growth and employment. The cities’ growth and contribution to GDP remind us of the importance of emerging and developing economies within this sector. The report both highlights this and offers further examples in areas such as best practices for sustainable growth, resilience and destination stewardship.”