UAE and Saudi Arabia among world’s top 10 destinations

Monday, November 6, 2023


Saudi Arabia

The UAE and Saudi Arabia ranked among the top 10 tourism destinations worldwide.

These destinations have seen the strongest growth in international visitors this year vis-a-vis 2019.

The analysis of international tourist arrivals by destination countries in 2023 reflected the continual recovery of the global tourism sector following the pandemic.

The Middle East and Africa region was particularly well-represented among the top 10 global performers.

Saudi Arabia was fifth in a global ranking of international arrivals in 2023.

The UAE followed the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico and Greece in the top five which was dominated by “sun and beach” destinations.

The UAE ranked 8th on the list, with tourist arrivals this year just 7 per cent shy of pre-Covid levels.

Thanks to an influx of tourists from the US and Russia and strong air connectivity. This has particularly helped lift more Chinese travellers into the country.

Egypt ranked the world’s 10th top-tier tourism destination globally.

International arrivals in 2023 estimated to be 10 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. It is partly because of the return of Russian travellers to the country.

It is also because it returned to tourists’ bucket-list as a historical destination.

The global recovery in tourism arrivals will also accelerate towards the end of the year.

Globally, inbound tourism this year is 27 per cent behind 2019 levels.

But the recovery is set to accelerate in the fourth quarter to 13 per cent below pre-Covid levels.

Fuelling the global travel recovery are outbound travellers from the US and Canada visiting other parts of the world

Israel-Gaza war impact

The outlook for travel and tourism in 2023 is an “expression of cautious optimism” because of the Israel-Gaza war, which has been raging for nearly a month, and the continuing Ukraine war.

Destinations that were going strong, like Egypt and Jordan, there is a negative impact of this war.

Regional travel outlook in 2024

Destinations in the Middle East have a “key role to play” in changing foreign visitors’ perceptions about the region and the geopolitical nuances within it.

Despite the Israel-Gaza war, destinations in the Middle East “have some good cards in hand” in terms of strong air connections with the world and diversified tourism offerings.

Dubai has established itself as a leisure destination. Saudi Arabia is pouring “massive” investments into its tourism sector that will generate more visibility for the country and the wider region.

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