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Middle East Emerges as Leader in Global Tourism Recovery Post-Pandemic

New Study Highlights Remarkable Tourism Rebound in the Middle East Fresh research from HSBC Global Research reveals that the Middle East has not only bounced back to pre-pandemic tourism levels but has surged ahead, positioning itself as the global frontrunner in the post-pandemic tourism recovery.

According to the report, the region stands out by achieving a complete recovery in terms of tourist arrivals during the first quarter of 2023, boasting a remarkable 15 percent increase compared to the figures from 2019.

Taking the second spot, Europe exhibited a commendable recovery, reaching 90 percent of its pre-pandemic visitor counts.

Middle East Tourism Resilience The research sheds light on the Middle East's substantial reliance on tourism, constituting a significant five percent of the region's GDP. This indicates that the region might continue to reap the benefits of this ongoing recovery in the upcoming year.

Within the Middle East, both Saudi Arabia and Turkey witnessed tourist arrivals nearly on par with pre-pandemic levels during Q1 2023.

Securing the second spot, the Asia Pacific region contributes more than four percent of its GDP through tourism.

Maitreyi Das, the report's author and Economist at HSBC Securities and Capital Markets, commented, "The Middle East region's tourism recovery has been most impressive, surpassing pre-pandemic figures and becoming the first global region to do so."

She added, "Qatar and Saudi Arabia are leading the world in terms of tourist arrivals during Q1 2023. In the context of tourism revenue, Turkey stands out globally with a remarkable 104 percent increase."

"Perceptions-wise, 40 percent of respondents believe that the Middle East has already achieved full tourism recovery, while 20 percent expect recovery by the end of 2023."

The report further anticipates a significant surge in outbound tourist spending from Asian economies. This projection is based on the rapid expansion of the middle-class consumer base in the next decade. Mainland China's tourism expenditure is expected to grow from $100 billion between 2022 and 2030 to an impressive $175 billion from 2030 to 2040.

Over the past quarter, the count of domestic and international flights originating from Mainland China has seen a substantial increase, alongside the deployment of larger aircraft, underscoring the region's escalating travel trends.