Global investment in tourism on the rise

New projects created thousands of jobs

The global tourism sector is witnessing an upswing in foreign direct investments (FDIs). According to figures from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and fDi Intelligence, the tourism sector’s FDI projects grew by 23 percent from 2021 to 2022.

In this period, the sector witnessed a total of 352 investments. Simultaneously, the jobs created by these tourism-related investments also rose by 23 percent, generating around 36,400 jobs.

“As the sector steers its course towards recovery and growth, UNWTO now, more than ever, prioritizes innovation, education, and strategic investments as the pillars for recalibrating and adapting to these ever-evolving market dynamics,” expressed Natalia Bayona, executive director of the UNWTO.

She further shared how the organization is “spearheading a series of initiatives.” This is to “equip the professional workforce with new skills through upskilling and vocational workforce programs, creating quality job opportunities, and raising average wages across the entire tourism value chain.”

Top investment areas

The leading destination region for tourism FDI projects in 2022 was Western Europe with 143 announced investments at a combined estimated value of $2.2 bn.

Meanwhile, the number of announced projects into the Asia-Pacific region increased marginally by 2.4 percent to 42 projects in 2022.

The hotel and tourism sector accounted for almost two-thirds of all projects in the tourism cluster between 2018 and 2022. FDI projects increased by 25 percent from 2021 to 2022.

These investments will then pave the way for a skilled workforce that can deliver exceptional growth, drive innovation and, by embracing digital technologies, enhance the competitiveness and resilience of the tourism sector.

GCC tourism uptick

The favorable investment climate in the global tourism industry is rubbing off on tourism numbers internationally, including in the Gulf region. Dubai, in particular, welcomed 8.6 million tourists in the first half of 2023. This reflects a 20 percent increase compared to 2022. Meanwhile, Saudi hosted about 7.8 million tourists from January to March of 2023. As a result, its revenue from tourism more than tripled in the first quarter of 2023 to $9.86 billion.

Qatar, on the other hand, recorded a 167 percent surge in visitors from January to July. Arrivals breached the 2.5 million mark. Investments in new hotel properties in Qatar will see its top-tier accommodations grow from 74 percent of the current total to an impressive 78 percent by 2028.

Moreover, Qatar plans to add a significant number of new keys, with room supply predicted to reach 53,400 by 2028. These include developments currently under construction and in the planning phase.


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