As per new research from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector’s revenue is expected to reach $246 billion this year, which is only 8.9% behind pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, before the onset of the pandemic, the travel and tourism sector in the region was growing greatly, generating $270 billion in revenue.
However, when COVID-19 brought international travel to a complete halt in 2021, tourism’s contribution dropped by 51.1%, suffering a loss of more than $138 billion.
Latest WTTC research shows that as the region continues to get back on track from the pandemic, with major markets reopening borders and easing travel restrictions, tourism’s contribution to employment is expected to reach almost the pre-pandemic levels this year. The research also reveals that if countries continue to roll out the vaccination programme swiftly this year and restrictions to international travel are relaxed around the world, 6.8m people could be employed in tourism by the end of 2022, which isjust 40,000 behind pre-pandemic levels.
“The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant losses to the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, but we now have reason for real optimism,” said WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson. “2022 is poised for a strong recovery if governments across the region continue to open up their borders and remove restrictions to travel, which will have a massive positive effect on the economy, society, and jobs,” Simpson added.