The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) released its 2005 Travel & Tourism forecasts for the Middle East countries at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, UAE.
Releasing forecasts prepared on its behalf by Oxford Economic Forecasting, which follow the United Nations standard for Tourism Satellite Accounting, the WTTC reported that Middle East Travel & Tourism posted particularly strong growth results for 2004 with Total Travel & Tourism Demand increasing 9.1%, while 2005 is expected to continue building on this new higher level with more moderate long-term growth forecast at 4.8% for the year.
Region-wide for 2005, WTTC is forecasting:
Demand: Encompassing all components of Travel & Tourism consumption, investment, government spending and exports is expected to grow 4.8% (real terms) and total $128.6 billion in 2005. The ten-year annualized growth (2006-2015) forecast is 4.4% per annum illustrating the outlook for strong long-term growth.
Visitor Exports: The increasing successful efforts by Middle East destinations to attract visitors from abroad are expected to push Visitor Exports to nearly $53.0 billion in 2005 or real growth of 8.5%.
GDP: Travel & Tourism’s contribution to the regional economy is illustrated by the direct industry impact of 2.7% of total regional GDP and the combined direct and indirect impact of the Travel & Tourism economy expected to total 9.7% in 2005.
Employment: The Middle East Travel & Tourism industry is expected to produce 72,000 new jobs in 2005 over it’s 2004 level to total 1.4 million jobs or 3.2% of total regional employment. The broader perspective of the Travel & Tourism economy (direct and indirect) is expected to create more than 140,600 new jobs for the Middle East economy for a total of nearly 4.0 million jobs dependent on Travel & Tourism or 9.1% of total employment.
WTTC President, Jean-Claude Baumgarten said, “A growing number of economies in the Middle East have recognized the enormous current and potential impact Travel & Tourism makes and can make on their economies and job creation and have made this industry a strategic national priority. Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Beirut are excellent examples of how government and industry leaders can use Travel & Tourism to diversify and develop a broader, healthier and more robust economy, which is less dependent on narrowly focused industries and commodities.
We’re particularly excited to see these destinations lead the way with new Travel & Tourism development and investment projects ranging from holiday and beach resorts, to world class entertainment, to shopping, dining and cultural attractions. Our research suggests that this visionary investment will lead the way for significant long-term returns in regard to visitor exports, personal Travel & Tourism, and business travel. But perhaps more importantly, this new investment creates opportunities for long-term employment.”
A brief summary of the Middle East countries’ 2005 forecast follows:
Bahrain: 2004 results were strong across the board in all categories of T&T Demand. 2005 is expected to continue at a robust pace still exceeding the ten-year growth average. T&T Economy GDP is 20.4% of Total and growing 9.2% in 2005.
Egypt: Visitor Exports led the way to a healthy 2004 for Egypt Travel & Tourism. Capital Investment was also strong showing long-term confidence in new business development. Govt Expenditures supporting T&T were lagging in 2004, but picking up in 2005.
Iran: Business Travel is expected to remain strong for 2005 in Iran. Govt expenditures are showing a major jump over last year. Capital investment remains healthy, while Visitor Exports surges to a strong level of growth in 2005.
Jordan: Almost all elements of T&T Demand in Jordan - Personal, Business Travel and Visitor Exports - equal or exceed the robust level posted for 2004.
Kuwait: 2004 results will be difficult to equal for Kuwait in 2005 as business growth is off slightly from this robust level of growth. Still, 2005 will exceed the 10-year growth averages forecast for Kuwait.
Lebanon: Not withstanding some significant events in Beirut recently, 2004 Travel & Tourism, especially Visitor Exports was exceedingly positive. 2005 promises to keep a strong momentum well exceeding the 10-year forecast for growth.
Oman: 2004 and 2005 Visitor Exports and resident Business Travel appear to be driving significant gains for Travel & Tourism growth in Oman.
Qatar: Strong 2004 growth in Personal and Business Travel combined with excellent growth of Visitor Exports to post a robust year for Travel & Tourism in Qatar. 2005 will follow suit if not just slightly off this pace.
Saudi Arabia: Exports of energy products, part of “Other Non-Visitor Exports” explains the 2004 surge in T&T demand. Regular categories of T&T Demand (Personal, Biz, Govt, CapX and Visitor Exports) are showing robustgrowth in 2005, exceeding results posted for 2004.
Syria: 2005 is expected to show strong growth for resident Personal and Biz Travel, while Visitor Exports will back off major surge of growth shown in 2004 yet still exceed 10-year average.
United Arab Emirates: 2005 is expected to look very similar to 2004 results with the exception that Visitor Exports, which had a banner year in 2004, will do well, but certainly struggle to match such outstanding performance posted last year.
Yemen: Yemen appears poised to regain its long-term level of growth forecast for Travel & Tourism after suffering some disappointing results in 2004 especially for Visitor Exports, which posted a significant loss for the year.
Richard Miller, Executive Vice President of WTTC said, “The competition for Travel & Tourism business is strong and vibrant in the Middle East among the regional players and against other destinations around the world.The creation of new tourism products and services will make an enormous difference in how the region is perceived and bolster their prospects for continued growth.”