Some of the factors affecting tourism in the region were highlighted by TRI Consulting associate director Chris Hewett at the Hotelier Middle East Great GM Debate 2017.

Some of the factors are the soft euro in the last few months, Brexit and the pound drop against the dollar. Hewett highlighted that the depreciation of sterling is forecast to continue during 2017, which is expected to lead to a substantial slowdown in outbound travel and tourism spending growth from the UK, from 8% in 2016 to a contraction of 4.2% in 2017.

The strengthening of the dollar could also mean changing rates for some hoteliers and a slowdown from traditional markets.

According to Hewett, outbound Chinese tourists to the UAE have seen an increase which can be attributed to the growing middle class population and the relaxation of visas on arrivals for Chinese tourists.

Travel from Europe has also slowed down in the region with a drop in inbound visitors. However, while the travel & tourism sectors in certain Middle East countries have suffered, several other destinations have profited by being seen as ‘safe haven’ substitute destinations.

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