UAE tops charts in MENA region for tourism development

UAE tops charts in MENA region for tourism development

Emirates climbs seven places to rank 18th in World Economic Forum Index

The UAE ranks first in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and 18th globally, according to the World Economic Forum’s latest Travel & Tourism Development Index (TTDI) report.

The Index ranks 119 economies, measuring a country’s ability to sustainably grow its travel and tourism industry. The results serve as a benchmarking tool for companies, governments, international organisations and others to enhance performance in the sector.

The UAE increased its score by 4.4% in the 2024 index, moving up seven places from its 25th position in the previous report issued in 2021. The report indicated that the country showed strengths in areas such as business environment, safety, information and communications technology, as well as human resources.

The top three global rankings remain unchanged, with the US taking the top spot, followed by Spain and Japan. In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia ranked 41st, with Qatar 53rd, Bahrain 58th and Egypt in 61st place.

Among high-income economies, only the UAE and Saudi Arabia were ranked in the top 10 for showing the most improvement in their performance between 2019 and 2024.

Overall, the Middle East experienced the highest recovery rates in the number of international tourist arrivals, surpassing 2019 levels by 20%. Europe, Africa and the Americas have reached 90% of their 2019 levels.

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The report predicts that the global tourism industry will surpass pre-COVID-19 levels, driven by increased demand, more available air travel, improved international openness, and growing interest and investment in natural and cultural attractions.

Francisco Betti, head of global industries at the World Economic Forum, said: “This year marks a turning point for the travel and tourism sector, which we know has the capacity to unlock growth and serve communities through economic and social transformation. 

“The TTDI offers a forward-looking window into the current and future state of travel and tourism for leaders to navigate the latest trends in this complex sector and sustainably unlock its potential for communities and countries across the world.”

The Index is based on five factors including an enabling environment; travel and tourism policy and infrastructure; infrastructure and services; travel and tourism resources; and the sustainability of the travel and tourism sector.

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