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UAE, Qatar top Mena tourism performers

The UAE is the top performer in travel and tourism competitiveness in the Mena region, followed by Qatar, according to a report released by the World Economic Forum.

The UAE – ranked 28th in the global Index – continues to lead the region thanks to rich cultural resources and a slew of international fairs and exhibitions, said the fifth Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report, released with the strategic partnership of Booz & Company, a global management consulting firm.

The biennial report, published under the theme, Reducing Barriers to Economic Growth and Job Creation, sees considerable movement in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index’s top 10 countries.

“With its year-round sunshine, white-sand beaches, shopping malls, entertainment centers, recreational facilities and some of the finest restaurants in the world, UAE is definitely a popular tourist destination,” said George Atalla, partner with Booz & Company.

“Despite the impact on natural resources, the country has managed to build a thriving travel and tourism industry. It is also a world-class international hub for global air travel.”

In second place for the region is Qatar (41st globally), a nation that boasts well-developed ICT and tourism infrastructures as well as excellent air transport and sports infrastructure.

“Qatar’s ability to offer tourists a safe and secure environment compounded with its role as a transport hub has significantly enhanced its travel and tourism competitiveness,” added Antoine Nasr, senior associate. “Due to the economic boom, business tourism has significantly increased.

Ranked fourth in the Mena region, Bahrain has fallen 15 places since the 2011 assessment, namely due to security concerns. However the country maintains a number of clear strengths. Those include a highly-evolved transport infrastructure, skilled human resources and strong price competiveness.

Lebanon ranks eighth in the region and 69th overall with a number of cultural attributes, including five World Heritage cultural sites and some creative industries. Perhaps more importantly, Lebanon is ranked first out of all countries for its affinity for Travel & Tourism, with tourism accounting for a significant amount of economic activity, a very positive attitude toward foreign travellers, and an appreciation of the value of the country’s attributes for tourism.

“Egypt, ranked 10th regionally, drops 10 positions in the global assessment to reach 85th overall, probably the result of the continuing unrest in the country. Most notably, the evaluation of the safety and security environment has dropped to the lowest position of all countries covered in the Report” added Atalla.

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