Middle East popularity grows in World Cup aftermath, says ForwardKeys

By Simon Warburton |

Last year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar sparked a halo effect for tourism in the Middle East.

Travel intelligence provider ForwardKeys has presented an upbeat assessment for tourism arrivals in the Middle East for the second half of this year, according to air ticketing data.

Overall, the region is up by 12%, with Oman, the UAE and Saudi Arabia leading the way with double-digit growth [see below].

ForwardKeys Head of Market Intelligence Juan Gomez said: “In 2023, the Middle East’s impressive tourism performance continues, with a projected increase in international arrivals compared to the previous year in the remaining six months.

“Most destinations are on track to match or exceed their 2022 numbers, a testament to the relentless efforts of local authorities in transforming the region into a global tourism powerhouse.”

Situation remains “dynamic”

He added: “While destinations like Qatar may not reach the exceptional volumes of 2022 due to the FIFA World Cup’s influence, neighbouring countries continue to bask in the afterglow of last year’s sporting spectacle.

“Countries such as Jordan and Egypt show forward booking levels lower than the previous year, but this situation remains dynamic, and an upward trend could materialise as the year progresses.”


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