Domestic tourism campaigns bear fruit across the Middle East
UNWTO has highlighted the importance of domestic tourism in global recovery
United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has highlighted the importance of domestic tourism in driving global economic recovery.
In its most recent tourism and COVID-19 briefing notes, the UN agency found that domestic tourism is set to return faster than its international counterpart, presenting and opportunity for destinations to recoup losses from COVID-19 more quickly.
Domestic tourism has historically outperformed international tourism across the globe. UNWTO data shows that in 2018, around nine billion domestic tourism trips were made worldwide – six times the number of international tourist arrivals (1.4 billion in 2018).
UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “UNWTO expects domestic tourism to return faster and stronger than international travel. Given the size of domestic tourism, this will help many destinations recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, while at the same time safeguarding jobs, protecting livelihoods and allowing the social benefits tourism offers to also return.”
UNWTO’s findings this month certainly ring true across the Middle East, where domestic tourism has soared in the region’s tourism hubs. Earlier this month, authorities in Ras Al Khaimah reported a spike in hotel bookings thanks to its Shortcation campaign. According to the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), the emirate currently boasts the highest RevPAR in the UAE.
In fact, RAK was second in the GCC in terms of RevPAR, beaten only by Saudi Arabia capital Riyadh. In the Kingdom, cities have seen a ‘huge flow’ of tourists thanks to the government’s Saudi Summer campaign and other similar drives.
In the UAE capital, authorities have hailed domestic campaigns for recovering the emirate’s hotel sector. Ali Al Shaiba, executive director, Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi said in the summer that domestic tourism is the key for Abu Dhabi’s recovery in the hotel market.
UNWTO stressed that marketing and promotion as well as financial incentives are key to boosting domestic tourism numbers.