Middle East Tourism Set to Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels in 2023
Having witnessed a stronger than expected recovery in 2022, the Middle East could see international tourist arrivals return to pre-pandemic levels this year, according to the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Data from the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer noted that while all regions enjoyed significant increase in international arrivals in 2022 over the previous year, the Middle East recorded the strongest relative increase as international tourist numbers climbed to 83 percent of pre-pandemic numbers last year. “The region welcomed large events such as Expo 2020 Dubai and the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, as well as a highly attended Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia,” noted UNWTO in its report. “UNWTO anticipates a strong year for the sector even in the face of diverse challenges including the economic situation and continued geopolitical uncertainty,” Secretary General Zurab Pololikashvili said. UNWTO noted that over 900 million tourists travelled internationally in 2022, which was double the number of those who travelled in 2021 though still 37 percent below 2019.