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Tourism in the Arab World: An Industry Perspective

Tourism in the Arab World: An Industry Perspective

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Tourism in the Arab World: An Industry Perspective

572 pages
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Jun 15, 2017


This book is the first to explore Arabic tourism from a business viewpoint, rather than taking a sociological, anthropological or political stance. It focuses on business planning, management and marketing destinations in the Arab World, which are topics crucial for industry stakeholders and which have previously been neglected in the tourism literature. The book examines similarities and differences in the emergence and development of the tourism industry in countries across the Arab world as well as its inbound and outbound travel flows. It analyses several different aspects of Arabic tourism including tourism policy, organisation and planning, tourism product development, destination marketing and consumer behaviour. This volume will be of interest to postgraduate students and researchers of tourism studies, business and Middle Eastern studies.

Jun 15, 2017

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Tourism in the Arab World - Channel View Publications



Hamed Almuhrzi, Noel Scott and Hafidh Alriyami

Tourism in the Arab World: An Industry Perspective provides the first collection of papers that explore tourism in the Arab countries from a business viewpoint. Its focus is on different aspects of business such as planning, management and marketing destinations, which are crucial for the industry stakeholders and areas that have been neglected in the tourism literature in general (Ballantyne et al., 2009; Swarbrooke & Horner, 2001). These arguments appear even more relevant in relation to the context of the Arab world as past research has focused on sociological, geographical, religious and anthropological studies (Daher, 2007; Jafari & Scott, 2014). Given the limited tourism literature about tourism in the Arab region in general and about the business perspective of tourism in this region in particular, it is vital to understand the region’s tourism industry in terms of planning, management, marketing and visitors’ views (Jafari & Scott, 2014). Understanding these concepts will enhance our knowledge about the tourism industry in the Arab world and its inbound and outbound travel flows.

What is the Arab World?

Before discussing tourism industry in the Arab World, it is necessary to define what is meant by the Arab World and clarify the term ‘Arab’. ‘Arab’ is widely accepted as an ethno-national term (Darity, 2008) that labels Arabic-speaking nations. From a political and organisational perspective, it is associated with ‘The League of Arab States’, which was founded in Cairo in 1945 by six Arab states and which currently has 21 members. These countries are: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The League recently suspended the membership of Syria. As a regional organisation of Arab states, the League aims to promote and facilitate cooperation in relation to social, cultural, political and economic affairs between its members. However, there is no concise definition in the League’s membership articles on what an Arab state is or who is an Arab.

Geographically, Arab States stand on two continents: Asia and Africa. The geographical area of the Arab League stretches from the Indian Ocean and Somali Peninsula (Horn of Africa) in the South East to the Mediterranean Sea in the north; and from the Arabian (Persian) Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. Table 1.1 provides an overview on population in Arab countries and its growth from 2010 to 2013. There are two related geographical terms that create confusion alongside that of the Arab World: the Muslim World and the Middle East. Ben-Dor (1999: 1) borrowed two terms, ‘ethnoreligiousness’ and ‘ethnoregionalism’, to clarify this confusion between religious and other identity determinants. ‘Ethnoreligiousness’ describes the overlaps between religious identity and other identities determinates (i.e. ethnic, culture background, mother-tongue), whereas ‘ethnoregionalism’ describes the overlaps between national and others identity specifications. The confusion between Arab World, Muslim World and Middle East is an example of differences between ethnoreligiousness and enthnoregionalism descriptions. Such confusion can be regularly witnessed in the media as well as in academic discussions.

Past scholars have pointed to the confusion that a researcher may face to differentiate between Arab world, Islamic World (Jafari & Scott, 2014) and Middle East (Feghali, 1997). Whereas Islam is the main religion in many Arab and non-Arab societies (i.e. Persian, Turkish, and Kurdish society), it is not correct to consider these societies as having identical cultures (Hassan, 1991; Hourani, 1992). In fact, there are many cultural differences between Arab-Islamic and non-Arab-Islamic societies in their way of living and societal traditions (Hassan, 1991; Hourani, 1992). Jafari and Scott (2014: 2) emphasized that ‘within the global Muslim community there is diversity from the blending of religion, culture, politics and historical influences. The Muslim world embodies both a common set of religious beliefs as well as a complexity that rewards investigation and rejects any simple label or categorization’. Although Islam originated on the Arabian Peninsula, Arabs are a minority within the Islamic World today. Among the 1.6 billon people that recognized themselves as Muslims, only 20% are located within the Arab League States. In fact, the largest five Islamic countries today are non-Arab speaking states: Indonesia (209 million), India (176 million), Pakistan (167 million), Bangladesh (133 million) and Iran (74 million) (Jafari & Scott, 2014). This highlights the needs to differentiate between the Islamic World and Arab World when a tourism phenomenon is under investigation.

Beside the Muslim World, the Arab World is also often confused with the term Middle East. Unlike the Muslim World (religion) and the Arab World (ethnic), the Middle East has a more geopolitical connotation. Perhaps this is understandable if the historical root of the term to be known. Similar to other terms such as ‘The East’, ‘Far East’ and ‘Near East’, the Middle East was born in a European-centric world between the First and Second World Wars at the end of the colonisation era (Beaumont et al., 1988). There is some agreement that the Middle East term initiated from within the military-political discourse (Beaumont et al., 1988; Held, 2000; Ian, 1972), although the frontiers of the Middle East were unclear. During the Second World War, the term included Kenya (Ian, 1972), demonstrating how its usage and connotation has been stretched and shrunk arbitrarily (Beaumont et al., 1988). Held (2000: 7) writes:

the Fertile Crescent is the core of the Middle East is universally accepted, and that region comprises the general area from north-east Africa to south Asia is also widely approved. There is, moreover, a broad consensus that the Middle East extends from the western border of Egypt to the eastern border of Iran and from the Black Sea to the Arabian Sea. However, the precise limits of the region are still variously conceived by scholars and media.

Thus, the terms Middle East and the Muslim World include both Arabic-speaking and non-Arabic countries such as Iran. Other scholars have included Turkey (Beaumont et al., 1988). What all three terms share is the heritage of Islamic civilization, and a core geographical area. The United Nation World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) limits the Middle East term to 14 Arabic-speaking states: that is, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Palestine.

Who is an Arab?

The second question of interest is who may be identified as an Arab? While the above section shows the confusion and difficulty in identifying what can be labelled as the Arab World, ascertaining who is an Arab is no less complicated. It is not unusual to view Arab as an ethnic term which implies a group membership. Feghali (1997), however, reviews literature that disputes a racial description, whereas Ben-Dor (1999: 12) notes that ethnic identity is ‘malleable and that it can be manipulated’. Minority groups within Arab states provide a counterexample to an ethnic definition of ‘the Arab’.

Historically, it is claimed that Arabs originate from what is historically known as the Arabian Peninsula (Hourani, 1992; Lewis, 2002) and that the Arabic language (a Semitic language) is a shared, but not the only, parameter of similarity among peoples who may be identified as Arabs (Darity, 2008; Feghali, 1997; Held, 2000). Jabra (1971) suggests an Arab may be ‘anyone who speaks Arabic as [their] language and consequently feels as an Arab’. Other identifying features of ‘Arab’ can be a sense of shared culture and history (Darity, 2008). As far as this volume is concerned, an Arab is seen from two perspectives. Firstly, from a destination perspective Arab states are members of the League of Arab States and secondly, from a visitor perspective the self-identification approach is used (Jabra, 1971), that is, respondents identified themselves as Arab.

Tourism in the Arab World

The tourism industry in the Arab World has grown rapidly albeit with individual countries following different development paths. The UNWTO (2015) reported that in 2014 this region was among the fastest growing regions in terms of travel total contribution to GDP (gross domestic product). In the statistics of UNWTO and WTTC the Arab World countries are divided between two regions namely, the Middle East and North Africa, which is jointly labelled as MENA (UNWTO, 2005; WTTC, 2015). WTTC (2015) forecast that number of tourists to the MENA region was 60 million in 2015 and that more than 100 million tourists will visit MENA in 2025 with tourism having a direct contribution to the GDP of 9% by 2025. In this volume, Middle East countries include Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, UAE and Yemen, while North Africa include Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia. The market share of the tourism in this region is around 5% of the total world tourism in 2015 and is expected to reach 8% by 2030. According to UNWTO (2015) tourist arrivals and income reached to a peak in 2010 of 58 million tourists and generated income of US$39 billion. However, in 2013, after the Arab Spring revolutions, arrivals declined to 52 million and tourism earnings decreased to US$36 billion (UNWTO, 2015). According to WTTC (2015), the direct and indirect contribution of tourism to the GDP in MENA is around 8% and 18.5%, respectively. Tourism is one of the main sources of employment in this region and predicted to rise by 3.2% annually.

There is no common pattern among Arab countries in terms of the volume of inbound or outbound tourism. For instance, outbound travel from Saudi Arabia has been increasing, yet other countries such as UAE, Oman and Qatar are experiencing significant increases in their inbound tourism; and countries such as Egypt face challenges with visitors’ export income 20% less than the 2011 revolution. Therefore, it is important not to make generalisations when studying tourism in the Arab World.

While from outside the region, many Arab countries are perceived as similar, in fact there are many differences between them. The planning and development of each country’s tourism industry is influenced by that country overall political structure (Costa et al., 2013). After the post-colonial era, countries of the Arab World adopted different political structure and ideologies and different tourism industry structures, policy and development approach. Jafari and Scott (2014) encourage researchers to explore the impact of Islam on tourism governance and policymaking in the different countries of the Arab-Muslim world.

Islam, as the main religion in most of the Arab destinations, plays a significant role in shaping the tourism development in the Arab region (Henderson, 2014a). It also influences the development of tourism activities, attractions and facilities. The degree of adherence to Islamic guidelines varies between the Arab countries (Smith & Hindley, Chapter 8, this volume). For instance, there are some Arab destinations that do not allow serving alcohol (e.g. Saudi Arabia), however, there are other countries which allow it. Some countries in the Arab world have followed a more liberal approach in terms of tourism development in order to attract non-Muslims tourists, such as UAE, Qatar and Bahrain (Morakabati, 2012), whereas other countries such as Saudi Arabia followed a conservative approach.

One of the main challenges of the Arab destinations is how to make a balance between the needs and wants of Muslims and non-Muslims tourists (Henderson, 2014b). Henderson (2015) argues that there is huge dilemma between traditional and modern, global and local, and religious and secular in the Arab tourism destinations. Most of the Arab tourism destinations are targeting tourists with a different culture, religion, and with distinct needs and wants compared to the local and intraregional market. Arab destinations marketers show in their marketing the tradition, hospitality and the friendliness of locals in order to attract western tourists to them, but at the same they remind tourists to respect the Islamic culture with regard to dressing and behaving appropriately at the Arab destinations. Thus, Islamic codes of conduct and dress might be offended by certain practice of non-Muslims tourist. Local beliefs may remain strong and affect the tourism products and marketing of a destinations (Henderson, 2015).

There are distinctive differences in terms of the emergence and development of the tourism industry across the Arab world. For instance, some destinations, such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco were among the first to adopt tourism development (Lew et al., 2008), while others such as Oman and Qatar have begun to develop their tourism sector in the last decades (Henderson, 2015; Mustafa, 2010) as a source for economy diversification and to reduce their reliance on oil (Winckler, 2007). Therefore, the contribution of the tourism to the national GDP varies between the Arab countries. According to Morakabati (2012), tourism contributes more than 15% to the national GDP for some countries such as Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan, while it contributes less than 5% to other countries such as Libya, Yemen and Qatar. In addition, some countries, such as UAE and Egypt, have allocated more than 10% of the total investments in tourism projects while others, such as Kuwait and Libya, have allocated less than 5% of its total investments in tourism-related projects (Morakabati, 2012).

Inbound tourism

According to Morakabati (2012), the region is considered as one of the greatest potential tourism destinations in the planet. Arab countries have tourism resources which could attract millions of tourists from different part of the world. The majority of international tourists visiting the Arab countries (apart from interregional tourism flow) are from European and Asian countries. One possible reason for the increase in number of Europeans and Asians tourists in the Arab countries is the location and types of attractions. Geographically, a number of Arab countries destinations are located at the crossroads of Asia and Europe. In addition, Arab countries are rich in cultural attractions including sites which have archaeological, historical and Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious value (Morakabati, 2012; Mustafa, 2010). Tourists can visit Egypt for ancient Egyptian sites and Nile tours, Tunisia for coastal resorts and historical sites (Mustafa, 2010), UAE and Qatar for business and leisure (GFF, 2007), Jordan for health and medical tourism (Smith & Hindley, Chapter 8, this volume) and Saudi Arabia for religious tourism. The Arab world is considered highly competitive with their destinations offering unique landscape, culture and heritage that meet tourists’ requirements (Deloitte, 2010). Around 80% of the tourists visiting Oman are for leisure purposes, while 90% of those visiting Qatar go for business purposes (Henderson, 2015), and 42% of tourists visiting Saudi Arabia are for religious tourism (Monshi & Scott, Chapter 3, this volume). Most of the visitors in Gulf countries are Arabs (Henderson, 2015); however, most of the clients for other countries, such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, are from western countries. There is a growing demand for Arab tourism destination, in particular the Gulf countries, from new emerging markets such as Chinese, Indians and Russian (Henderson, 2014a).

Intraregional tourism among Arab countries is a phenomenon that deserves exploring. Intraregional tourism between the Arabs countries is increasing because of economic growth, similarity in language, culture, customs and tradition as well as the proximity. According to European Travel Commission (2012), more than 75% of the tourist arrivals in the Arab countries are from other neighbouring Arabs countries. There is wide variability among the Arab countries and their dependency on intraregional tourism. For example, 80% of the visitors in Bahrain are from the Arab countries, while Iraq has less than 1% form intraregional tourists. The United Arab Emirates (and mostly Dubai) is the favourite destination for Arabs (Wells, 2012).

The intra-regional tourism is the lowest in the Arab countries comparing to other world regions. There is a need to increase the intra-regional tourism between the Arab countries to reduce the negative consequences of political crisis. Intraregional tourism is very important for Arab countries as the region may have a negative image due to the frequency of political instability, war and terrorist attacks (Henderson, 2015). Some destinations are more appealing to tourists within the Arab region, but there are countries which are more attractive to tourists outside the Arab region such as Egypt. According to Morakabati (2012), countries which are more appealing to Arab tourists have less vulnerability during the time of crisis; however, countries that are more appealing to western tourists are highly affected by any negative events or crisis. Tourists outside the region may perceived a higher level of travel risks towards the Arab destinations; however, tourists inside the region may perceive lower level of travel risks. Thus, Henderson (2015) stresses that Arab tourism destinations should increase the intra-regional tourism and improve their domestic tourism.

Sustainable tourism development is becoming one of the recent trends in many countries in the Arab world. Several countries such as UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia are considering the implementation of sustainable tourism development in their tourism development strategies. These Arab countries are adopting sustainable tourism development plans; however, most of them are still not successful in implementing the sustainable tourism guidelines. For instance, local involvement in the tourism industry is still weak in the Arab world (see Khomsi & Kadri, Chapter 2, this volume). Khomsi and Kadri, stress that locals in the Arab countries should be active and not passive and there is a demand to improve the involvement of locals’ stakeholders in decision making.

Tourism creates many jobs opportunities for local people at the tourism destinations. In some countries, such as Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, are most tourism jobs are occupied by locals, while it is the opposite in the Gulf States. For instance, Qatar, UAE, and Oman have lower percentages of locals working in the tourism-industry-related jobs (Henderson, 2014a), although steps have been taken to increase number of locals employed in the tourism industry by their governments. For instance, Oman has an ‘Omanisation’ strategy and Qatar a similar ‘Qatarisation’ strategy. Both aim to increase number of locals involved in the tourism sector and increase the representation of local workers in the private sector. However, locals still prefer government jobs and they tend to have less enthusiasm for work in tourism (Henderson, 2015).

Gulf destinations are competing in building iconic infrastructures, boasting mega projects, showcase architecture, new cities and super skyscrapers. Iconic infrastructure such as Burj Khalifa is used to gain global recognition (Henderson, 2014a) and as a useful marketing tool to attract many tourists (Henderson, 2014a; Lawton & Weaver, Chapter 11, this volume). Countries such as Qatar and UAE are investing millions of dollars in sports, events and sponsorships (Thani and Heenan, Chapter 7, this volume). For instance, The Qatar Foundation has sponsored football clubs such as Barcelona and Paris Saint Germain. These sponsorships help to showcase Qatar’s modernity and progress and create awareness around the world (Henderson, 2015).

Culture and art are becoming key ingredients for global cities (Henderson, 2014a). There are several examples of new cultural and art products and projects in the Arab countries. In 2011, Oman opened the Royal Opera House Muscat for art, cultural and musical events all year. Abu Dhabi is also investing millions of dollars to develop the Saadiayat Island project, the home of the National Museum, the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Louvre Abu Dhabi (Henderson, 2014a, 2015). Similarly, Doha has works with international designers to develop the National Museum of Qatar and the Orientalist Museum (Henderson, 2015). The opportunities of the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector have also attracted the attention of many Arab countries. There is a growing competition between the Arab countries in the event sector (Monshi & Scott, Chapter 3, this volume). In 2016, Oman opened the first phase of its new Convention and Exhibition Centre which is recognised as a new hub for business events in the Arab World (Oman Convention, 2017). Qatar is considered as one of the leading in sport event bidding. It was the first Arab country to host the Asian Games (in 2006). Qatar will also host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

There are many airport developments in the Gulf (e.g. Muscat Doha, Abu Dhabi and Dubai) to link with the rest of the world (Henderson, 2015; Morakabati, 2012). Doha’s airport was expanded recently to handle 30 million passengers annually and it is planned to increase its capacity to reach 50 million in the coming years (Henderson, 2014b). Dubai is aiming to increase its airport capacity to 90 million and Abu Dhabi to 20 million passengers (Henderson, 2014a). Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are competing to be the transit hub and stopover points between the east and west. Doha is considered well connected by air to the rest of the world; however, Dubai still has the biggest and the busiest airport in the Arab world (Henderson, 2015; Thani and Heenan, Chapter 7, this volume).

Safety is one of the most important ingredients Arab States need to be concerned about if the tourism is to develop in the Arab world. Current political instability in the Arab region has influenced the long-term prospects of the tourism industry, tourism investments opportunities and tourists’ flows to the region (Morakabati, 2012). The Arab region is considered a risky tourist destinations (Lepp & Gibson, 2008). It has been associated with wars, political instability, terrorism (Kozak et al., 2007; Reichel & Fuchs, 2011; Sönmez & Graefe, 1998), low level of economic development (Lepp & Gibson, 2008) and political problems (Fuchs & Reichel, 2011; Lew et al., 2008). These types of risks are often generalized to all the countries in this region (Lepp & Gibson, 2003, 2008, 2011; Reichel & Fuchs, 2011) even though some are safe and secure nations (Jalilvand & Samiei, 2012).

Most Arab destinations have been affected by the safety issues (see Walters & Beirman, Chapter 12, this volume) and it appears that they are perceived as one entity in the international travel market. Terrorism, wars and political instability are not only affect the country where the incidents are happening, but also the entire Arab world (Morakabati, 2012). For instance, the Arab spring and the political instability in the Arab world have affected the tourists’ flows in many Arab tourism destinations such as Egypt (see Helmy, Chapter 5, this volume), and Tunisia (see Selmi, Chapter 10, this volume). Although some destination, such as Jordan, has political stability, it is still affected by the political instability in neighbour countries such as Syria, Israel, Iraq and Palestine (Walters & Beirman, Chapter 12, this volume). Despite the political instability in various Arab countries, most of the Gulf states (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and UAE) have experienced growth in their number of tourists during the Arab spring (Morakabati, 2012).

Most of the people in the Arab world are Arabs and Muslims who are sometimes perceived as embracing violence and terrorism (Jalilvand & Samiei, 2012). Jalilvand and Samiei (2012) argued that the image of Arabs and Muslims has been defaced by terrorist attacks under the name of Islam. Arab countries are also associated with conservatism and anti-western sentiment by outsiders. Therefore, marketing Arabs countries as tourist destinations is a difficult task (Kalesar, 2010). The image of Arabs in North America and Europe suffered after the 9/11 attack. There are also negative images of these countries due to the Arab–Israeli conflicts, Iraq war, and war against Al-Qaida (Jalilvand & Samiei, 2012). Recently the risk and political instability of countries such as Iraq and Syria has caused a halo effect in surrounding countries and had a significant impact on the tourism industry in this region.

Outbound tourism

In 2013, the total population of the Arab World reached 369.8 million (The World Bank, 2015), with the vast majority below 50 years of age. The socioeconomic profile of many Arab countries, specifically Gulf countries (Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and UAE), has impacted outbound travel. Outbound travel from Arab countries has dramatically increased in the last 15 years; from 8.2 million in 1990 to 36 million travellers in 2011 (UNWTO, 2012). According to Sengupta (2013), there is significant growth in the outbound tourists from the Arab countries which is expected to reach 81 million by 2030 from 40 million in 2013. The average annual growth in outbound tourism for the Arab region was 8.1% between 2005 and 2011 (UNWTO, 2012). In 2010, the number of Arab tourists visiting Switzerland increased by around 20% and in Singapore by 21%.

Abodeed (2014) also reported rapid growth in Arab outbound tourism. Many Arabs tend to visit European and South Asian countries (Prayag & Hosany, 2014), and prefer destinations where they can practice their Islam easily and peacefully and have access to halal food (Wells 2012). According to ETC and UNWTO (2012), 49% of the Arab outbound market travelled to Europe in 2010; of which 60% are from the Gulf countries (spending 75% of total expenditure by Arabs market in European destinations). Tourism providers in Europe have developed tourism products in response to the religious and cultural needs of Arabs. For instance, hotels in Geneva provide halal food, create separate swimming facilities for women and prayer areas (Wells, 2012).

Compared to other international tourists, there are specific behaviours among Arabs travellers such as longer stays, higher spend and travel party size, and a preference for cooking their food themselves (e.g. Ladki et al., 2002; Michael et al., 2011; Michael & Beeton, 2007; Sulaiman, 2008). According to Wells (2012) Arab travellers had the highest average travel expenditure. Arabs, in particular citizens of Arabian Gulf countries, spend around US$3000–4000 per day on average when travelling internationally. Compared to other tourists, Gulf traveller spend four times more than others on accommodation and almost three times more in airfares. Arabs also stay longer (between two weeks to eight weeks) and business class seats preference is higher among Arabs (Well, 2012). ETC and UNWTO (2012) surveys confirm that Arab tourist expenditure is higher; the average spend per capita for the Arab travellers is around US$250 and higher than the world average of US$134. In terms of specific tourism destinations, Sulaiman (2008) found that Arab tourists in Malaysia stay in average a week and spend more than the average tourist. Similarly, Osman (2013) also reported that number of Arab tourists visiting Indonesia has increased in the last decade. She revealed that although number of Arab visiting is less than other markets, Arabs tend to travel with their families, stay longer, and spend more money more than the average.

The high expenditure of Arab tourists has attracted attention to this market (Ibrahim et al., 2009; Wells, 2012). Various tourism destinations in North America, Europe and Asia are trying to stimulate and increase their market share of the Arab outbound market. However, despite the potential, there are few studies that examine Arab tourists’ motivations, perceptions, attitudes and behaviours. Arab travellers have distinctive needs and wants that tourism service providers and tourism marketers should understand in order to sell the ‘right’ tourism product to Arabs. Some 60% of the population in the Arab world are young people who are familiar with new technology and more exposed to new online media. Many Arab countries have witnessed economic growth leading to a consumption economy and increases in outbound travel. Arab customers are looking for customized holidays and travel packages and loyalty rewards. Service providers also need to use new technologies to develop better services (Sengupta, 2013). Although the volume of Arab tourists is lower compared to other markets, the value of the Arab market is higher because Arab tourists spend more when they travel, travel in larger group and stay longer (Sengupta, 2013). Thus, the study of the business of tourism in the Arab world has much to recommend to tourism managers and scholars.

Structure of this Volume

Tourism in the Arab World: An Industry Perspective consists of 18 chapters including this Introduction (Chapter 1) and the Conclusion (Chapter 18). This volume has been arranged into four sections. The first section is concerned with tourism policy, organization and planning (Chapters 2–6). In Chapter 2, Khomsi and Kadri discuss tourism governance in the Arab world comparing Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and UAE. They analyse the influence of governance on tourism development using a model developed by Hall (2011) and identify that local communities are not well involved in the decision-making processes; public authorities are the main actors in planning and development. In Chapter 3, Monshi and Scott provide an overview of the Saudi event tourism sector and highlight recent initiatives such as new entry visas, and establishment of the Saudi Exhibition and Convention Bureau and event venues. Chapter 4 discusses women’s empowerment in the Arab tourism industry, examining the attitude of the Omani women towards working in the tourism profession. Helmy examines existing sustainable tourism planning in Egypt in Chapter 5 using a supply chain model as an approach to reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of local communities. AlBalushi and Wise, in Chapter 6, compare Dubai and Oman based on a triple bottom line of the impacts of tourism.

The second section of this volume concerns tourism product development and consists of three chapters (Chapters 7–9). In Chapter 7, Thani and Heenan examine the transformation of Dubai and Abu Dhabi from desert backwaters to global cities based on developments in aviation, sports and attractions. They argue that Dubai and Abu Dhabi have transformed UAE into a ‘tourism Mecca’ based on the themes of excess and abundance. Chapter 8 by Smith and Hindley explores the development of halal tourism and provides several examples of the adaptation of halal tourism products and services in different countries in the world. This chapter provides an overview and analysis of the various ways in which tourism and hospitality businesses can cater for Muslim guests, whether they require fully or only partially compliant facilities. Anthonisz and Heap, in Chapter 9, discuss the notion of authenticity within hospitality industry. They consider Dubai is rejecting the traditional notion of authenticity as reflecting local tradition and is instead creating ‘new’ local traditions of service provision in line with current and emerging markets. They assert that the construction of the ethno-authentic Dubai experience is fulfilling the commercial imperative for the hospitality industry in the area. The globalisation of Dubai should perhaps be replaced by the ‘glocalisation of Dubai’ as the brand becomes a complex mix of international cuisines and cultures.

The third section of this volume is concerned with destination marketing in the Arab World and includes five chapters (10–14). In Chapter 10, Selmi gives analyses on the impacts of Arab Spring on the tourism industry in Tunisia and provides some recommendations for tourism stakeholders to recover from crisis. The literature has treated crisis to carry only negative impacts on the tourism destination, however, Selmi argues that crisis can bring also some benefits to the tourism destination and tourism organizations. Chapter 11 by Lawton and Weaver examines the respective tourism branding and product development strategies of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. A 6S model of brand proposition is proposed for Dubai (i.e. stable, strategic, superlative, sophisticated, sustainable and successful) and a modified version of this model (i.e. selectively sophisticated, discretely superlative, subtly successful, seriously sustainable, strategically strategic and reliably stable) for Abu Dhabi, which implicates intentions to be distinct from Dubai is discussed. The chapter ends with implications for regional cooperation and future regional economic development. Walters and Beirman discuss, in Chapter 12, the impacts of the political crisis in the Middle East and its impacts on Jordan’s tourism industry in particular. This chapter also illustrates several destination management and marketing strategies for Jordan and other Arab destinations to recover from crisis. In Chapter 13, Abdel Fattah and Eddy-U investigate how the Egyptian Bedouins are presented in the English language tourists’ brochures. Abdel Fattah and Eddy-U stress that the tourists’ brochures were centred on experiencing the unspoiled Egyptian deserts and its nomadic and primitive Bedouin tribes. They argue that this image strongly reflects a colonial legacy of particular stereotypes that continue to be reproduced through English-language tourism brochures. While the core image may lure potential tourists into experiencing the other, there is a possibility of increasing the gap between expectations and experience. Recommendation for tour operators to reduce the gap between tourists’ stereotypical expectations and the modern reality of Bedouin life are addressed. In the last chapter of this part, Chapter 14, Utomo, Scott and Jin examine the evolution of Hajj business through three periods: prior to European involvement; Hajj business under the Europeans; and Hajj in the 20th century. The chapter highlights also the effect of these changes on the quality of the religious experience.

The last section of this volume consists of three chapters (Chapters 15–17) which are focused on Arab consumer behaviour. In Chapter 15, Abodeed, Moyle and Wilson explore the motivations, needs and expectations of Arab visitors to the Gold Coast in Australia. The chapter discusses how western destinations such as the Gold Coast can cater for Arab visitors, and better understand their motives, needs and expectations. The influence of the Islamic teachings on Omani tourists’ motivations and destination choices is discussed by Alsawafi in Chapter 16. Chapter 16 also provides managerial implication for destination marketers on how to target Omani tourists in the future. In Chapter 17, Abdel Fattah, Fisher and Fountain explore the international and domestic visitors’ experiences in relation to the traditional presentations and commercial offerings at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Chapter 17 argues that, despite a lack of interactivity, the Egyptian Museum was able to meet the needs and wants of the different type of visitors. Together these chapters form the first comprehensive analysis of the business of tourism in the Arab World.


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