Middle East’s tourism industry to recover fully

The Middle East has seen the strongest increase in international arrivals in 2022, according to the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), signaling a rebound for the tourism sector to pre-pandemic levels this year.

The UNWTO data shows that international arrivals in the Middle East climbed to 83% of pre-pandemic numbers last year, followed by Europe, where the number of tourists hit 80%.

However, Asia and the Pacific reached only 23% of the pre-pandemic level in 2022, as most countries in the region, including China, only started easing pandemic-related restrictions in recent months. Africa and the Americas both recovered about 65% of their pre-pandemic visitors.

The UN agency also reported that more than 900 million tourists traveled internationally in 2022, double the number of travelers compared to 2021, though still just at 63% of pre-pandemic levels. According to UNWTO’s forward-looking scenarios for 2023, global international tourist arrivals could reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023.

However, the UNWTO also highlighted that this expected recovery will depend on various factors, including the extent of the global economic slowdown and the status of the Ukrainian conflict. Additionally, at least 32 countries have imposed restrictions on Chinese travelers, and this will play a crucial role in the recovery of the Asia-Pacific region in 2023.

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