Tourism tipping point: Middle East travel boom delivering economic boost as Israel-Hamas war threatens recovery
October 2023 Al-Monitor PRO Trend Report
Empty hotels, canceled flights and travel advisories. The outbreak of fighting between Israel and Hamas in October 2023 has undercuta fledgling tourism rebound in the Holy Land after years of struggle. The fallout could spread further, with the prospect of a wider war looming over an even bigger tourism boom unfolding across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
Global tourism isn’t expected to fully recover from COVID-19 until 2024, but Q1 2023 saw the Middle East become the world’s first region where tourism arrivals fully reached pre-pandemic levels, exceeding 2019 numbers by 15%, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). That came as global arrivals only reached 80% during Q1, while the Middle East has since reported the world’s best results between January-July 2023, with arrivals 20% above 2019.
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