Middle East Travel Statistics: Contributed by 8.9% of the Total Economy

Updated On: August 22, 2022

Middle East Travel Statistics - Dubai

World Travel & Tourism Council, WTTC, is a non-profit membership-based organisation that includes over 200 Chairpersons, CEOs, and Presidents of the world’s leading Travel & Tourism institutions worldwide. For More than 30 years, the WTTC has analysed the economic effect of Travel and Tourism in 185 countries and its main aim is to raise awareness of the significance of the Travel and Tourism sector as one of the world’s most significant economic sectors.

Middle East Travel Statistics

According to the WTTC, the Middle East got significantly affected by the pandemic struck. The Middle East’s Travel and Tourism sector was booming and contributed 8.9% of the total economy before the pandemic. 

After the pandemic, its contribution witnessed a dramatic decrease of 51.1%, suffering a dramatic loss of more than $138bn. As per the research, at the current rate of recovery, the Middle East area will recover just over a quarter in 2021, after a drop of 51.1% in 2020.

The data also indicates that the Middle East region could witness a yearly rise of 28.1% in 2022. Julia Simpson, WTTC President & CEO, stated that although the Travel and Tourism Sector in the Middle East started to slowly recover, it is still far from the numbers before the pandemic regarding the contribution of the Travel and Tourism sector to the region’s economy and employment.

Julia Simpson added: “As we look into the future, the Middle East has strong growth potential following the reopening of its borders to international travellers. We have seen countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE implement policies to restart international travel safely and we hope to see a harmonised approach across the region.”

According to WTTC, the sector could exceed the global recovery if five essential measures are met by governments worldwide. First, governments have to allow fully vaccinated travellers to travel freely, regardless of their origin or final destination. Second, governments need to implement digital solutions that enable all travellers to easily verify their COVID status resulting in speeding up the process at borders. Third, governments have to recognise all vaccines authorised by WHO. Fourth, persistent support of the COVAX/UNICEF initiative to secure a fair distribution of vaccines around the world. Last is the ongoing implementation of improved health and safety protocols. The contribution of the Travel & Tourism sector to GDP could rise by 33% by the end of 2021, and by 30% in 2022. 

Top Places to Visit in the Middle East

The Middle East has its unique beauty and attracts all kinds of tourists. It features a natural charm, paradise-like cities, and colourful communities and culture which make it a favourite holiday destination for many tourists.  Let’s check the top five tourist destinations in the Middle East:

Middle East Travel Statistics Petra Istanbul Archaeology Museums: They are one of the world’s richest archaeology museums. The museum contains Roman and Byzantine works, a great collection of Hellenistic, and items such as sculptures and sarcophagi. They consist of three separate museums on one site, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeology Museum, and the Tiled Pavilion.
Middle East Travel Statistics: Contributed by 8.9% of the Total Economy 5

1. Petra, Jordan

It is the spectacular archaeological city of Jordan. It attracts toutists from all over the world. It is at the top of the must-see tourist destinations in the Middle East. The former capital of the Nabatean Kingdom contains remnants of ancient mosques, palaces, tombs, and temples, created from pink sandstone. The indigenous are friendly and welcoming. In summer, the opening hours are from 6 am to 6 pm. While in winter, it opens from 6 am to 4 pm. 

Best Time to Visit Petra: The ideal time to visit Jordan is in the spring and autumn months,  March, April, May, September, October and November. During these months, it’s usually dry but not too scorching, with high temperatures ranging from 19°C to 28°C. The average temperature in summer ranges about 33°C and the weather is very hot with very little shade. Winter is the most tranquil season for visiting Petra but it is cold and rainy. The average temperatures range from 2 to 13°C. 

How to Get to Petra: Petra is just a short walk away from Wadi Mousa. Hotels offer free shuttles to the visitor’s centre. Otherwise, there are a lot of taxis outside the visitor’s centre. Petra is about a 3-hour drive, 236km from the capital Amman to Petra through the faster Desert Highway. It is a 4-hour and a half drive through the slower  King’s Highway. It is also about a 2-hour drive from the coastal resort of Aqaba to Petra which is 126 kilometres. You can also book a day tour package including transportation and tickets. 

Key Attractions in Petra 

As- Siq: Bab As-Siq is the starting point of every visitor’s journey. It is the way between the ticket booth to the Siq It is 1.2 kilometres long. You can view the monuments and tombs all the way long. As-Siq is the main entrance to the city of Petra. It was formed by tectonic forces that split the mountain in two. The waters coming from the “Musa” move through the Siq. 

The Treasury, Al-Khazneh: It is engraved into the rock. Due to its position, The Treasury is protected from wind and rain. The perfect times to view the Treasury are between 9 am and 11 am, then, between 5 pm and 6 pm. The colours look amazing when the sun reflects on the facades. 

The Roman Theatre: The essential design of the Theater is Hellenistic. It was inscribed out of the mountainside. It could host up to 8500 people.

Royal Tombs: The Royal Tombs are splendid. They are situated on the East Cliff. They are a total of 7 tombs that reflect amazing architecture and colours, varying from red to blue to yellow. This is one of the most remarkable sites in Petra. 

Ad-Deir (Monastery): The Monastery is one of Petra’s most exhilarating monuments and it’s carved from a piece of the mountain. You need to climb 800 steps to arrive at the Monastery. You can enjoy the incredible view over the valley from the top. Upon arrival, You can have a cup of Jordanian tea at the local café and just chill. The only way back to Petra is to go down the same 800 steps. 

Umm-Al-Biyara: It is the hardest hike to get to the flat mountain watching the whole of Petra. You need to ascend 1000 steps and it is recommended to reach the top before sunset, so you can descend easily. It is also recommended to hike with a guide. 

Best Hotels in Petra

Mövenpick Resort Petra: It is a 5-star hotel which is located 50 metres away from the Visitor Centre. The hotel offers free parking, free wifi and air conditioning. It features many amenities including, a swimming pool, a spa and wellness centre, family rooms, a shared lounge or tv area, outdoor furniture, a 24-hour front desk, Express check-in and check-out, ATM on site, luggage storage, and 24-hour security and more. 

The hotel provides a variety of room types and suites for clients to choose from. Most rooms feature a flatscreen tv, air conditioning, an ensuite bathroom, a mini bar, a safety deposit box, free toiletries, bathrobe, toilet, towels, linen, socket near the bed,  desk,  slippers, telephone, satellite channels,  iron, radio,  hairdryer, electric kettle, wake-up service, laptop safe, wardrobe or closet, clothes rack, toilet paper and more. Prices vary depending on the room type and facilities.

Petra Marriott Hotel: It is a 5-star hotel which is located in Wadi Musa. It offers free wifi, free parking, and air conditioning. The hotel also features a swimming pool, a spa and wellness centre, family rooms, a shared lounge or tv area, an outdoor furniture, a 24-hour front desk, Express check-in and check-out, ATM machine on site, luggage storage, a 24-hour security and more. Airport drop-off and airport pick-up, dry cleaning, laundry, business centre, fax or photocopying are all available at an additional charge.

The hotel offers a wide variety of rooms to choose from. Most rooms feature free wifi, air conditioning, a private bathroom, a mini bar, a flatscreen tv, hand sanitizer, a desk, a shower, a bathrobe, a toilet, a telephone, an electric kettle, a wardrobe or closet, a seating area, ironing facilities and more. Prices vary depending on the room type and facilities.

Petra Corner Hotel: It is a 3-star hotel which is located in Wadi Musa. It offers free parking, free wifi and a very good breakfast. The hotel features a restaurant, a coffee house on site, daily housekeeping, family rooms, room service, car hore, wake-up service, currency exchange, express check-in and check-out, a 24-hour front desk, and more. Bike tours, walking tours, horse riding and hiking are all available at an additional charge. 

The hotel has a variety of rooms for clients to choose from. Most of these rooms features free wifi, air conditioning, a flatscreen tv, a min bar, free toiletries, a shower, a bathrobe, a safety deposit box, a toilet, towels, a socket near the bed, a desk, a seating area, a refrigerator, a telephone, ironing facilities, a tea or coffee maker, a hairdryer, an additional toilet, , an electric kettle, an outdoor furniture, an outdoor dining area, a wardrobe or closet, a dining area, clothes rack, a toilet paper and more. Prices vary depending on room type and facilities. 

2. Amadiya

It is a charming Kurdish village that lies 10 kilometres from the Turkish border, in Iraq.  It has a prosperous history due to the ancient civilizations that has invaded the city. According to the mythology, Amadiya is said to be the home of three wise men, who went to Bethlehem to see Jesus Christ right after his birth. 

Best Time to Visit Amadiya: Autumn and spring are the ideal time to visit Iraq. 

How to Get to Amadiya: It is about 45 minutes by shared taxi, from Duhok to Amadiya. It is about 2 hours and a half from Erbil to Amadiya by car or tour guide.

Key Attractions in Amadiya

  • the Bahdinan Gate
  • Ruins from the Assyrian
  • Ruins of a synagogue
  • Tomb of Ezekiel 

Best Hotels in Amadiya

Cozy Stay: It is a 2-star hotel located in Dhaka. The hotel offers free parking, free wifi in public places, and a spa. It also provides a variety of amenities including express check-in and check-out, a smoking area, a guest laundry, air conditioning, a refrigerator, a balcony, a kitchen, a bar, a 24-hour front desk, an elevator and more. 

There are various room types to choose from. Most of the rooms feature free wifi, air conditioning with an additional fee, a desk, a balcony, a dining area, a wardrobe, a blanket, a bathrobe, toilet paper, a hair dryer, a kitchen, and a stove, kitchenware, a dishwasher and more. Prices vary depending on room type and facilities. 

Middle East Travel Statistics Dubai 1 Istanbul Archaeology Museums: They are one of the world’s richest archaeology museums. The museum contains Roman and Byzantine works, a great collection of Hellenistic, and items such as sculptures and sarcophagi. They consist of three separate museums on one site, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeology Museum, and the Tiled Pavilion.
Middle East Travel Statistics: Contributed by 8.9% of the Total Economy 6

3. Dubai

Dubai is a breathtaking city in the UAE. It is popular for luxurious hotels, monuments, busy beaches, and skyscrapers. Dubai welcomes millions of tourists around the year. Dubai is on top of the must-see list to visit in the middle east.

The Best Time to Visit Dubai: The perfect time to visit Dubai is between November and April. A little light rain occurs between December and March. In November, temperatures average are about 30˚C. 

How to Get to Dubai: You can get to Dubai by air through Dubai International Airport. There are various airlines to choose from. You can also use the bus through some Emirates Express Routes. There is also Dubai Metro available to reach Dubai. 

Key Attractions in Dubai 

Burj Khalifa: The 828 metres tall tower, is the tallest building worldwide. It is a preferred tourist attraction for tourists from all over the world. It features 2 observation decks, one on the 124 floors and 148 floors. It also has the tallest lounge spread across three floors. 

The Dubai Mall: It is one of the largest malls that can be found around the world. It includes more than 1200 shops, and the most popular brands and department stores.

  • Global Village
  • Jumeirah Beach 
  • Mall of Emirates 
  • Dubai Mall
  • Wild Wadi
  • Desert Safari
  • Dubai Creek 
  • Dubai Aquarium 
  • Global Village 
  • Dubai Marina

Best Hotels in Dubai

Swissotel Al Murooj Dubai: It is one of the top-rated hotels in Dubai. It offers free parking, free wifi and air conditioning. The hotel offers a bar or lounge, outdoor pool, beach towels, a restaurant, a 24- hour security, a 24-hour front desk, dry cleaning, laundry service, express check-in and check-out, meeting rooms, conference facilities and more.

The hotel offers various room types to choose from. Most rooms feature air conditioning, a seating area, a telephone, bottled water, a minibar, a flatscreen tv, a refrigerator, a sofa, a safe, a private balcony, a telephone, complimentary toiletries and more. Prices vary depending on room types and facilities. 

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai: It is one of the top-rated hotels in Dubai. The hotels offer free wifi, free parking and air conditioning. It features express check-in and check-out, a 24-hour front desk, 24-hour security, dry cleaning, laundry service, conference facilities, airport transportation, a nightclub, a fitness centre with a gym, pool or beach towels and more. 

The hotel has a variety of room types for clients to choose from. Most rooms feature a flatscreen tv, blackout curtains, housekeeping, room service, an additional bathroom, on-demand movies and more. Prices vary depending on room types and facilities. 

Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk: It is one of the best hotels in Dubai. It offers free parking, free wifi, and air conditioning. The hotel provides a variety of amenities including, a pool, a bar or lounge, airport transportation, a restaurant, an outdoor dining area, 24-hour security, a 24-hour front desk, express check-in and check-out, baggage storage, and more.

The hotel has a variety of room types to choose from. Most rooms feature air conditioning, blackout curtains, an additional bathroom, a desk, a flatscreen tv, a dining area, a bath or shower, an electric kettle, a refrigerator and more. Prices vary depending on the room types and facilities.

Middle East Travel Statistics Istanbul Istanbul Archaeology Museums: They are one of the world’s richest archaeology museums. The museum contains Roman and Byzantine works, a great collection of Hellenistic, and items such as sculptures and sarcophagi. They consist of three separate museums on one site, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeology Museum, and the Tiled Pavilion.
Middle East Travel Statistics: Contributed by 8.9% of the Total Economy 7

4. Istanbul

It is another common choice in the places to visit in the Middle East. Istanbul has romantic magic and a spiritual vibe that spreads happiness to all visitors. It features grand hammams, traditional monuments,  handicrafts, exquisite canal views of Asia and Europe on both sides, and friendly local people. 

Best Time to Visit Istanbul: March to May and September to November are the ideal months to visit Istanbul.

How to Get to Istanbul: There are various ways to get to Istanbul, by air, by car or bus, by train, and by sea. There are direct flights to Istanbul from different countries. You can also drive to the city or use the regular buses available. There is a high-speed train available as well to use to get to Istanbul. Ferries and boats are also other ways of transportation to get to Istanbul

Key Attractions in Istanbul

Hagia Sophia: It was a church and museum, but now it is a mosque. It is one of the most unique architectural works in the world. 

Topkapi Palace: It is a splendid oriental palace and one of the richest museums in the world. It was the dwelling of the Ottoman Sultans from the 15th century to the mid-19th century. It contains four courtyards and terraces with incredible views.

Basilica Cistern: It is one of the most remarkable buildings in the city. The two Medusa Heads grasp the visitors’ attention from all over the world.

Istanbul Archaeology Museums: They are one of the world’s richest archaeology museums. The museum contains Roman and Byzantine works, a great collection of Hellenistic, and items such as sculptures and sarcophagi. They consist of three separate museums on one site, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeology Museum, and the Tiled Pavilion.

Best Hotels in Istanbul

Çırağan Palace Kempinski Istanbul: It is a 5-star hotel located in Besiktas, Istanbul. The hotel offers free wifi, free parking and a fabulous breakfast. It features 2 swimming pools, non-smoking rooms, outdoor furniture, a terrace, a garden, ATM, private check-in and check-out, luggage storage, 24-hour front desk, air conditioning, 24-hour security, and more. 

The hotel has a variety of room types for clients to choose from. Most rooms feature air conditioning, free wifi, a telephone, a balcony, a seating area, a safety deposit box, and more. There are six restaurants on-site that serve a variety of cuisine types to meet all visitor’s preferences. Prices vary depending on room type and facilities. 

Lady Diana Hotel: It is a 4-star hotel located in Sultanahmet, Fatih, Istanbul. The hotel offers free wifi, non-smoking rooms, and a fabulous breakfast. It provides a variety of amenities including, a restaurant, a minibar, 24-hour security, express check-in and check-out, currency exchange, ATM, a 24-hour front desk, and many more. Parking, themed dinner nights, walking tours, laundry, dry cleaning, spa, sauna, and massage are all available at an additional charge.

The hotel has various room types. Most rooms feature air conditioning, an ensuite bathroom, a flatscreen tv, a minibar, free wifi, free toiletries, an electric kettle, a hand sanitiser, a shower, and a toilet, towels, wardrobe or closet, wake-up service and more. Prices vary depending on accommodation type and facilities. 

Element Garden: It is one of the best hotels in Istanbul. The hotel offers free wifi, non-smoking rooms and family rooms. The hotel provides a variety of amenities including, air conditioning, an airport shuttle, daily housekeeping, wake-up service, 24-hour security, a 24-hour front desk, an outdoor dining area, outdoor furniture, and more.

The hotel has different types of apartments, rooms and suites as well. Most accommodations feature free wifi, air conditioning, flatscreen tv, a private bathroom, free toiletries, a microwave, an electric kettle, kitchenware, a wardrobe or closet, wake-up service and more. Prices vary depending on accommodation type and facilities. 

Middle East Travel Statistics Doha Istanbul Archaeology Museums: They are one of the world’s richest archaeology museums. The museum contains Roman and Byzantine works, a great collection of Hellenistic, and items such as sculptures and sarcophagi. They consist of three separate museums on one site, the Museum of the Ancient Orient, the Archaeology Museum, and the Tiled Pavilion.
Middle East Travel Statistics: Contributed by 8.9% of the Total Economy 8

5. Doha

Doha is the capital city of Qatar which is located by the Persian Gulf. It is well-known for its stunning buildings, exquisite museums, heritage markets, monuments, and entertainment centres. Doha became one of the 7 new Wonder Cities of the World. It is also at the top of the must-see destinations to visit in the Middle East.

The Best Time to Visit Doha: The perfect time to visit Doha is between October and April. During this time of the year, the temperature is cool. The temperature in July and August ranges from 46C in the shade however, you’ll find hotels and pools empty

How to Get to Doha: You can get to Doha through direct flights to Doha International Airport. You can also drive to Doha or rent a cab. You can also choose one of the land transport services in Qatar including, Limousines, taxis, or Bus services.

Key Attractions in Doha

Museum Of Islamic Art: It exhibits Islamic art from three continents. The Museum Of Islamic Art is the perfect way to let the people of the world know about the great work done by Muslims in the past. This museum holds artworks from three different continents. Despite not being a religious institute, it still contains a separate room for prayers for its Muslim visitors.

Souq Waqif: It is a nice place to go with your family where you can find restaurants, shops, and cafes all in one place. Souq Waqif is one of the buildings that reflect the old Qatari village style. It is the oldest in Qatar.

Doha Corniche: This Corniche was built to connect one end of the city to the other. It now has a view of a lot of skyscrapers. It is preferred to walk either early morning or late evening.

National Museum of Qatar: It extends to 1.5 kilometres. The National Museum of Qatar speaks about Qatar’s remarkable history and its people from the past to the present day. It is classified into three chapters of Qatar. The first chapter is the Beginnings, the second one is Life in Qatar and the third chapter is the Modern History of Qatar. 

Best Hotels in Doha

Mandarin Oriental, Doha: It is a 5-star hotel located in Msheireb Downtown, Doha. The hotel provides a variety of amenities including, parking, a restaurant, a business centre, a bar, a spa and wellness centre, 24-hour security, 24-hour front desk, non-smoking rooms, family rooms, dry cleaning, currency exchange, and air conditioning, and more.

The hotel offers different room types for visitors to choose from. Most rooms feature air conditioning, a balcony, soundproofing, a seating area, a kitchen, a bath or shower, a fold-up bed, and more. Prices vary depending on the accommodation type and facilities. The hotel also holds 7 restaurants on-site. 

Al Mansour Suites Hotel: It is a 4-star hotel located in Al Mansoura Street, Doha. The hotel offers 1 swimming pool, free wifi, free parking, family rooms, and a spa and wellness centre. It also features 24-hour security, 24-hour front desk, express check-in and check-out, currency exchange, luggage storage, and more. Ironing service, dry cleaning, laundry, evening entertainment, and nightclub are all available at an additional charge.

The hotel also offers various room types for visitors to choose from. Most rooms feature free wifi, free parking, flatscreen tv, electric kettle, air conditioning, wardrobe or closet, free toiletries, washing machine, sofa, safety deposit box, wake-up service, dining table, toilet paper, and more. Prices vary depending on the accommodation type and facilities.