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Middle East tourism to double

04 May 2006

Travel and tourism in the Middle East is set to double in the next 10 years, according to a new report released this week.

The World Travel and Tourism Council's 2006 Travel and Tourism Economic Research in the Middle East, expects the region to generate $148b (£81b) of economic activity this year, with that figure rising to $296b (£163b) by 2016.

Tourism in the Middle East is ranked ninth in the world with current market share at 2.3%. However, this is expected to grow to 4% in 2006 and by a further 4.4% per annum for the next decade.

Within the region, Oman will be the fastest-growing country in the next 10 years at 5.3% growth per annum, followed by Saudi Arabia at 5.1%.

In employment terms, tourism currently accounts for 1.7 million jobs, or 3.7% of total employment. This is set to rise to 2.5 million jobs, or 4.3% of the total, by 2016.

Richard Miller, executive vice-president of WTTC said: "The Middle East's travel and tourism economy is robust and growing and this is expected to continue."

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