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Thu 12 Nov 2009 06:35 AM

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UAE topples Egypt in MENA tourism brand rankings

Dubai and Abu Dhabi starting to see dividends on tourism investments - Futurebrand.

The UAE has toppled Egypt as the top regional (MENA) country in the fifth annual Country Brand Index (CBI).

Driven largely by the meteoric rise of Dubai as a world city and the emergence of Abu Dhabi as an economic powerhouse, the UAE has become a relatively strong brand that is still maturing, the survey conducted by consultancy Futurebrand said.  

Ranked 29th overall out of 102 country brands and the highest ranking Middle East country, the UAE’s ascension was also indicative of the softening of Egypt’s brand, Futurebrand added.  

The CBI - a comprehensive study of 3,000 international business and leisure travellers from nine countries - identifies emerging global trends in the world’s travel and tourism sector, which accounted for $944bn in international tourism receipts in 2008.

 In the MENA region, Egypt had to settle for second place while Israel, Oman and Saudi Arabia also figured prominently.

Rina Plapler, senior executive director, FutureBrand, said: “The UAE is beginning to see dividends on the investments it has made in its tourism infrastructure over the past five years.  

"With more mega projects, such as the Palm Jumeirah and the Yas Marina gaining international attention, as well as an array of hospitality offerings, the UAE’s strength as a tourist market has enabled the country to weather the current economic climate better than its regional counterparts.”

The Index also identified the UAE, along with China and Vietnam, respectively as the top three “rising stars” – those likely to become major tourist destinations in the next five years.

This year’s MENA top 10 rankings are as follows:

1. UAE  2. Egypt           3. Israel 4. Turkey*          5. Oman            6. Saudi Arabia7. Qatar8. Bahrain9. Jordan10. Morocco

* Not traditional a MENA country but included in survey

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John 10 years ago

I can't believe that the UAE would be a more popular destination than Egypt with all it's historic sites -- the Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx etc. Beats me!

Johnny H 10 years ago

The more you pay the more $$popular$$ you become with Futurebrand!

vikasmehta64 10 years ago

Can somebody enlighten me on the tourists highlights in Saudi Arabia. If I am not wrong they do not even have tourist visas

Mike 10 years ago

I visited Egypt about 10 years ago. I will never go back to that country. There are enough places to visit. But I was hassled none-stop by hustlers and cheats. It is very hard to enjoy a place where you have to keep your guards up every second you are there. And any one who has visited Egypt knows what I'm talking about. It's no wonder Dubai beat Egypt.

milma 10 years ago

Egypt is the best!!

Budur Salem 10 years ago

Whats so orginal about the UAE and especially Dubai? I feel I am in an authentic Asian country. The UAE is a dwarf in tourism compared to giants like Egypt, Turkey, Morocco, Jordan which truly represent the Middle Eastern rich history and culture. Farewell UAE national identity, language, heritage and tousim. The prevalent language in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia, Kuwait Bahrain and Qatar it is Arabic, in France it is French, in Germany its German, in China its Chinese, in Japan its Japanese, but in the UAE it is anything but Arabic. How pathetic!!!

milma 10 years ago

I have visited Egyt nine times last one was nine month ago I have not complain at all..Egypt has magic and I have enjoyed every second. I am sorry about you but Egypt is one of the most beautiful place on earth.

Joe 10 years ago

I agree with the previous poster -- Dubai is a smaller version of Las Vegas while the other middle eastern countries have a richer and more authentic history -- Jordan, Egypt, Turkey etc.

Karawan Abdallah 10 years ago

5 star hotels and continental unpalatable buffets do not constitute tourism. What does the UAE has to offer to its tourists who want to experience the true Arabian culture and traditions?

JohnA 10 years ago

There is plenty of UAE heritage. You have to put an effort to go and see it. All of the other mentioned countries have 'richer' cultures because their land has been fought over multiple times and their proximity to other nations. Not only that, but the UAE landscape is made up of desert, while several of the Levant countries dont occupy such harsh geographical locations. The UAE people were bedouins with the majority of people living near the coast or near water and many of them constantly moved around. Take that as context.