Travel Trends in the Middle East

Over the last decade, the Middle East has experienced remarkable developments in travel and tourism. The UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates that international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) grew from 24.1 million in 2000 to 58.2 million in 2010, before declining sharply in subsequent years to 51.6 million arrivals in 2013. As the birthplace of three of the world’s major religions, the Middle East has been the leading hub for religious tourists for several centuries. The region’s unparalleled rich heritage of monuments depicting ancient civilizations has also been a lure for many cultural tourists from around the world.

In recent years, some Gulf countries, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have taken the initiative to diversify the region’s tourism appeal by transforming the desert into ...

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