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Three years predicted for the revival of GCC tourism industry

GCC nations have an increased focus to develop their non-oil revenue.According to a World Bank report released on December 2019 some GCC countries like Bahrain had achieved this long sought goal of equal contribution from oil and non-oil sectors on year-on-year(y/y) growth in 2019.

A report from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales(ICAEW), GCC’s hospitality and tourism sector, which represents around 15 per cent of its non-oil economy, is not expected to recover until 2023-24 ie,not until three years from now.After the tourism slip the number of Russian tourists travelling to the GCC is expected to increase 125 percent from 933,000 in 2018 to 2.1 million in 2023, according to data published ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2019.The stronger Russian ties and relaxed visa norms for Russain nationals is expected to bring more Russian tourists to GCC after 2023.

The revered Chartered Accountants body said that despite a boost from next year’s Dubai Expo, the region’s hospitality and tourism sector would be hard hit due to a slow recovery of mid- and long-haul travel in the wake of the pandemic.The economic slowdown in the first half of 2020 could potentially be twice as large as the 2008 global financial crisis as per Scott Livermore, the ICAEW’s economic advisor and chief economist at Oxford Economic.

In its baseline forecast, the ICAEW assumed that social distancing restrictions would continue to ease through the third quarter of this year and the economic recovery will begin to build, prolonged lockdowns or a second wave of the pandemic, necessitating stringent lockdowns during flu season is a risk. “This could result in a W-shaped recession scenario in which there is a further period of severe economic weakness and a much slower recovery.” added livermore.

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