Arab air traffic and tourism booming

DUBAI — Passenger airline traffic in the Arab world grew strongly in November 2005, up 14.4 per cent on the month of November 2004. This follows strong growth of 9.9 per cent in October 2005 compared to October 2004, according to the latest figures from the Arab Air Carriers Organisation.

By Lucia Dore (Senior correspondent)

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Published: Mon 9 Jan 2006, 9:49 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 2:46 PM

The figures show that in November 2005, passenger traffic within the Arab world and other regions grew by 16.4 per cent, while passenger traffic inside the Arab world increased by 10.7 per cent compared to November 2004.

The significant growth in passenger numbers between the Arab world and other regions was a result of growth in passenger traffic with all world regions, especially with the Far East and Australia, which recorded growth of 24.1 per cent.

The reason for the 10.7 per cent rise in passenger traffic inside the Arab world, compared with November 2004, reflects the increase in passenger traffic throughout the region, except within the Arabian Peninsula where traffic declined by 1.1 per cent. The biggest growth in air traffic numbers was between the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, with passenger volumes 48.9 per cent higher in November 2005 compared to November 2004.

The air transport industry worldwide recorded a 2.5 per cent increase in November 2005, compared with the same month in 2004. This was down however on October's increase of 5.2 per cent. All regions of the world experienced an increase in air passenger traffic, with the exception of traffic between the US and the Far East. The biggest increase, at 41.1 per cent, was seen within the mid-Asia region.

Arab airlines increased the number of their offered seats in the Arab world by 33 per cent, while other airlines increased the number of seats offered by 39.7 per cent. The result was a 35 per cent year-on-year increase in the overall number of seats offered in the region.

The increase in passenger seats offered to the Arab world coincides with the projected growth forecasts for the Middle East travel and tourism sector estimated by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

According to the council's latest report, this sector is expected to generate Dh808 billion ($220 billion) by 2015 for the Middle East, with total demand in 2005 representing 2.1 per cent of world market share.

Growth in travel and tourism demand is estimated to be 4.8 per cent last year and the annualised rate of increase in real terms (inflation adjusted) is forecast to be 4.4 per cent between 2006 and 2015.

Up until 2012, the Middle East's market share of world total demand for travel and tourism is forecast to be just above two per cent.

Capital investment in the Middle East travel and tourism industry was estimated to be Dh72.3 billion ($19.7 billion) last year or 10.4 per cent of total investment in 2005. Capital investment is expected to total Dh124.5 billion ($33.9 billion) by 2015 or 10.9 per cent of total investments. Government expenditure in the sector will also rise substantially to reach $6.8 billion by 2015.

The number of people employed in the sector will also grow over the next few years. Middle East travel and tourism economy employment is estimated to at nearly 4 million jobs in 2005, 9.1 per cent of total employment — or one in very 10.9 jobs. By 2015, this should reach nearly 5.5 million jobs or 9.9 per cent of total employment.

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