By Andy Sambidge
Gulf state ranked 31st in latest UNWTO list, ahead of Saudi Arabia; global list topped by the US
The UAE topped the Middle East region for international tourism receipts in 2012, according to data released by the UN's World Tourism Organisation.
The UAE was ranked 31st in global list with receipts of about $10bn, just ahead of Saudi Arabia which was placed 35th, with revenues of $7.4bn.
Middle East tourism receipts totalled $46.7bn last year, the UNWTO report said, adding that international arrivals were down to 52 million, from 54.9m in the previous year.
The global list for international tourism receipts was topped by the US, Spain, France, China and Italy.
According to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism receipts hit a new record in 2012, reaching an estimated $1,075bn worldwide, up four percent in real terms from $1,042bn in 2011.
“It is encouraging to see that the growth in international tourist arrivals was equalled by a comparable increase in spending in spite of continued economic challenges” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai.
“Considering that tourism is a key export for many economies around the world, this result is good news as it provides foreign reserves to destinations, and contributes to job creation in tourism as well as in related economic sectors” he added.
By regions, the Americas (+7 percent) recorded the largest increase in receipts, followed by Asia and the Pacific (+6 percent), Africa (+5 percent) and Europe (+2 percent).
Receipts in the Middle East were still down by two percent; yet report a steady improvement compared to the decline recorded in 2011, the report said.
The Middle East made up a four percent share of total worldwide tourism receipts.
Among the emerging economy destinations, highest receipts growth was reported by Thailand (+25 percent), India (+22 percent), Poland (+13 percent), South Africa (+18 percent), Egypt (+14 percent), Vietnam (+18 percent) and Ukraine (+13 percent).For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.