Dubai, Makkah among top tourist spots
Dubai, January 28, 2014
By Sushil Nair
Dubai and Makkah were among the top 20 cities worldwide for international tourist arrivals in 2011, a report released recently said.
The rebound in global economic growth in 2011 contributed to stronger tourism demand, positively impacting results for the top 100 cities, with arrivals increasing 7 per cent, stated Euro Monitor while releasing the global '100 Cities Destination' ranking last week.
Emerging city destinations located in Asia Pacific performed well thanks to a strong economic environment and intra-regional demand, it added.
Hong Kong topped the global ranking with more than 20 million arrivals in 2011, up nine per cent over 2010, followed by Singapore and London which kept their 2010 positions as number two and three on the list, recording nearly 20 million arrivals and 15 million arrivals, respectively.
Singapore’s growth was driven primarily by large events like the Great Singapore Sales, Formula One Grand Prix and TravelRave, while London benefited from a wide mix of entertainment options and its position as Europe’s best connected city, said the report.
In the region, Dubai topped the list with 7.74 million tourist arrivals in 2011 followed by Makkah which welcomed 6.41 tourists that year, up 4.7 per cent over 2010, the Euro Monitor report stated.
Abu Dhabi too made it to the top 100 global ranking list at 87th place with 1.72 million tourist arrivals in 2011, up 7.3 per cent over the previous year along with Saudi capital Riyadh at 92nd spot with 1.92 million tourists.
The other countries from the Mena region which made it to the Euro Monitor list include the Turkish city of Antalya at seventh spot with 12 million tourist arrivals and Egyptian city of Cairo at 38th spot with 3.2 million tourist arrivals.
On the Middle East scenario, Euro Monitor said the Arab Spring resulted in a sharp drop in visitor numbers across the Middle East in 2011 as civil unrest rocked the region and the ongoing violence in various countries continued to affect arrivals.
However, a recovery was seen in 2012, with leading cities in Egypt such as Cairo and Sharm El Sheik witnessing a return of visitors, although numbers failed to approach pre-revolution figures. Cairo, in particular, saw a rise of 7.7 per cent in 2012 after a steep fall of 35 per cent in 2011.
The Tunisian cities of Djerba and Sousse welcomed 2.6 million and 1.9 million visitors in 2012, up 24.6 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively.
After the relatively peaceful Jasmine Revolution in 2011, Tunisia has seen a renaissance in its tourism industry among mainly French visitors due to the countries’ historic ties.
Djerba is a popular island for leisure tourists from France, Germany and Italy, the Euro Monitor stated in the report.
“While many cities maintained their previous rankings, Vietnam showed a particularly strong performance with Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi experiencing over 40 per cent growth for the second consecutive year,” remarked Caroline Bremner, the head of Travel and Tourism Research at Euromonitor International.
“Although Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will continue to be top tourist attractions in Vietnam, future demand is likely to be driven by other Vietnamese cities including Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc emerging as international tourists look to discover more new places,” he added.
On its future outlook, Euromonitor International foresees an even stronger growth for arrivals in 2012. "Because uncertainty in the global economy still exists, especially in the US and Europe, future growth will be driven by Asia Pacific, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. Less visa restrictions will further encourage tourism flows over 2012-2016," stated Bremner.-TradeArabia News Service