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World Tourism Day – Invest in People, Planet and Prosperity /Report/

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) expected this year to see international tourist numbers return to pre-Covid-19 pandemic figures in both Europe and the Middle East.

This prospect has come following a stronger than expected tourism come back in 2022, with tourists increasingly wanting value for money and travel, in response to the current difficult economic climate.

The number of tourists in 2022 recorded a recovery of 63 percent, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

A UNWTO report showed that the number of tourists in 2022 exceeded 900 million tourists globally, following year 2019 breaking the record to reach 1.5 billion tourists, indicating that the economic crisis might be one of the factors that could a negative impact on tourism in 2023.

Based on the scenarios predicted by the UNWTO for 2023, the number of international tourists could reach anywhere between 80 and 95 percent of previously recorded numbers, due to several considerations, the continued recovery of travel in Asia and the Pacific, in addition to developments in the war in Ukraine.

All regions globally recorded a notable increase in international tourist numbers, with the Middle East recording the highest relative increase.

In its report, the UNWTO highlighted the growth of international tourism revenues to reach USD 1 trillion end of 2022, an increase of 50 percent over 2021 levels, highlighting the aviation and tourism sectors’ recovery last year, after having been the sectors most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic between 2020 and 2021.

The UNWTO said that despite economic, health, and geopolitical challenges, recovery will continue throughout 2023, thanks to the positive effects the lifting of Covid-19 travel restrictions in China had, serving as a strong impetus and an important step towards the recovery of the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific, followed by the world. However, the organization warned at the same time against challenges related to geopolitical insecurities, staff shortages in some sectors such as bookings, in addition to the potential impact of high living costs crisis in some tourism destinations.

For its part, the State of Qatar has experienced remarkable development in recent years, with its tourism sector growing in all directions, leading to Qatar’s comprehensive tourism development in all service sectors.

Head of Communications at the Qatar Tourism Dr. Buthaina Mohammed Al Janahi told Qatar News Agency that Qatar has adopted the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, diversifying the Qatari economy greatly, keeping in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030. She added that Qatar developed its latest tourism strategy edition in 2019, which was then approved in 2020, and is now being integrated with the State of Qatar’s 3rd National Development Strategy.

Al Janahi added that this strategy aims to increase the contribution of the tourism sector to the gross domestic product by about 12 percent, raising tourism spending domestically by three to four folds, increasing the volume of employment in the tourism sector, and making Qatar the fastest growing tourism destination in the Middle East by 2030.

She indicated that 15 markets were identified and targeted, including the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, focusing on 6 types of tourism, in addition to launching promotional and advertising campaigns in the targeted markets, and cooperating internally with partners and concerned authorities, stressing that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 constituted a turning point in the Qatari tourism sector.

In terms of business events, Al Janahi said that Qatar has proven its ability to successfully host international events, quickly gaining the reputation for being a regional hub for doing business, and holding conferences and exhibitions, not to mention sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the GKA Kite World Tour.

Al Janahi added that Qatar is also preparing to host various major events include the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar 2023, to be held for the first time outside its native Switzerland, in addition to the Formula 1 Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix 2023 and the Expo 2023 Doha Horticultural Exhibition, both to take place in October. (MORE)

Source: Qatar News Agency