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As tourism destinations in the Middle East are widening their appeal and extending their offerings to attract FDI, global ministers of tourism convened at the 2022 Middle East Tourism Investment Summit on the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Global Stage. It was aimed at throwing the spotlight on access to project finance in the post-COVID-19 era and discuss investment opportunities and challenges for destination tourism in the region.
Hosted jointly by ATM and the International Tourism & Investment Conference (ITIC), the summit began with a Ministerial Roundtable with participation from H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship and SMEs & Chairman of Emirates Tourism Council of the UAE; H.E Nayef Al Fayez, Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Jordan; Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism, Jamaica, and Hon. Philda Nani Kereng, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, Botswana.
Shedding new light on the Middle East and the UAE as a financial hub for future worldwide tourism investment, H.E. Dr Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi said, “For the UAE hospitality accommodation sector, investment in rooms and keys remains a primary focus as evidenced by a 5% growth in the number of rooms compared to 2019 levels, with a variation of service levels and accommodation type. However, while the big-ticket FDI will continue to grow in terms of rooms, from the service side, we see a lot of venture capital deployed on technological solutions for tourism. As the customer demand for elevated tourism experiences continues to evolve, we see technology as an important investment area in the future. So, while recovery is going well, we need to be mindful of being equitable in our recovery to ensure that the whole ecosystem benefits.”
According to recent forecasts, the total contribution of the travel and tourism industry to the GDP of Middle East countries is expected to reach around USD 486.1 billion by 2028. Governments across the region are attracting hefty investments in their tourism industry, with Bahrain attracting USD 492 million of tourism capital investment in 2020, for example, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia earmarking USD 1 trillion to its travel and tourism sector through to 2030.
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