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Fri 3 Jul 2009 11:36 AM

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Mideast tourist numbers drop in Jan-Apr - report

UAE bucked the regional trend with tourist growth of three percent - UN World Tourism body.

Mideast tourist numbers drop in Jan-Apr - report
TOURIST DROP: The chief reason for the decline in the region’s tourists’ numbers was the drop in tourist numbers into Saudi Arabia. (Getty Images)

The UAE has seen a growth in tourist numbers during the first four months of this year, despite the Middle East seeing the largest fall of tourists in any region, the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) said yesterday.

UAE bucked the regional trend with tourist growth of three percent, The National daily reported.

According to the preliminary figures from the UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer, the Middle East region saw tourism decline by 18 percent between January and April compared with the same period last year

However, international tourism declined globally by eight percent.

“The Middle East is cooling down from a number of years of very fast growth,” The National quoted John Kester, the chief of market trends, competitiveness and trade in tourism services at the UNWTO, as saying.

The report noted that the chief reason for the decline in the region’s tourists’ numbers was the drop in tourist numbers into Saudi Arabia.

Destinations worldwide recorded a total of 247 million international tourist arrivals in the first four months of this year, down from 269 million last year, the report said.

Tourist arrivals to Europe were down 10 per cent in the first four months of the year, the Americas were down five percent, and the Asia/Pacific region was down six percent. Africa, meanwhile, saw tourism increase by three percent.

Destinations worldwide recorded a total of 247 million international tourist arrivals in those four months, down from 269 million in 2008. Given the changes in the outlook UNWTO has revised its forecast for the full year 2009. Taking account of the results for the first four months of the year and the current market conditions, international tourism is now forecast to decrease by between (negative) six percent and (negative) four percent in 2009, as the pace of decline is expected to ease during the remainder of 2009.

Also read: UNWTO World Tourism Barometerreport.

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Dellboy 11 years ago

Thats why the hotels have been half empty and some even offering to auction rooms to the highest bidder !!! More head in the sand stories about the UAE.

Andy 11 years ago

Where do they get these figures from - some hotels in Dubai are struggling to get rooms filled! Do they count people going through the airport? Transit passengers etc? Shopping centres are empty, short term apartments are now emptying, roads are quietening down (slightly). The beaches have definitely been empty this year! Maybe they count business people as tourists because they are on visit visas. There is a difference between tourists and business / transient visitors. Personally I wish it would get busy!