Middle East barometer

  • Mabrian and Katalysts launch the Middle East Tourism Barometer, showcasing Oman and the UAE as top performers in global perception and hotel satisfaction.
  • Art and culture emerge as the dominant tourist interests, while air connectivity sees remarkable growth in Oman and Saudi Arabia.
  • Qatar leads in satisfaction with 3-star hotels, the UAE excels in the 5-star category; Middle East offers competitive prices and diverse hotel options.

We are proud to announce the release of the Tourism Barometer for the Middle East in collaboration with Katalysts, a renowned data analysis firm. This comprehensive report provides valuable insights into the tourism industry for the first quarter of 2023[1] in the Middle East region.

The Middle East Tourism Barometer presents a detailed analysis of key factors impacting the tourism sector, including global tourist perception indexes, tourist interest distribution, destination performance by key air connectivity indicators, hotel satisfaction index versus hotel prices, and hotel composition distribution.

  • Global tourist perception indexes: The report reveals that Oman and the UAE have achieved the highest global perception indexes in the region, demonstrating their ability to provide exceptional experiences to international visitors. Moreover, these countries boast the highest levels of satisfaction with hotel services. Bahrain and the UAE also shine in terms of satisfaction levels with products, indicating their strong competitive edge. The security perception scores for all countries in the region are remarkable, surpassing 90%. This aspect plays a crucial role in promoting tourism and business in the Middle East. Additionally, the perception of climate overall ranks high for all countries.
  • Tourist interest distribution: The report identifies the top-ranking product categories frequently mentioned on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Art and culture emerge as the most discussed categories, fueled by the presence of historical sites in Saudi Arabia, such as Al Ula, and Dubai’s vibrant cultural programmes. However, art and culture also play a pivotal role in the tourism industry across all countries, with Qatar making significant investments in museum offerings. Food and cuisine rank second in Saudi Arabia, followed closely by Qatar. Bahrain leads the region in wellness product mentions, with most of the discussions originating from Saudi Arabia. Oman presents a diverse range of tourist products, catering to a heterogeneous set of preferences, including wellness, nature, and an active lifestyle.
  • Destination performance by key air connectivity indicators: The Middle East region has witnessed remarkable progress in terms of inbound seats, with Oman and Saudi Arabia leading the way. Oman has experienced a growth rate of 23.3%, while Saudi Arabia has achieved a growth rate of 15.7% compared to 2022. Although Saudi Arabia’s connectivity still trails behind Dubai’s, the country has made significant strides in increasing its connectivity. With efforts to attract 100 million tourists, Saudi Arabia is enhancing its infrastructure, developing new tourist destinations, and increasing the capacity of its airlines. The launch of a new airline, Riyadh Aid, in March further strengthened the country’s commitment to expanding its air travel capacity.
  • Hotel Satisfaction Index vs. Hotel Prices: According to the report, Qatar ranks highest in terms of satisfaction with 3-star hotels, closely followed by Oman. These countries also offer competitive average prices within the region. The level of satisfaction with 4-star hotels is similar across all countries, with Oman showing a slightly higher level of satisfaction. The UAE has the highest average price for 5-star hotels but also boasts the highest level of satisfaction in the region. Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman demonstrate similar satisfaction levels with the UAE. On a broader scale, the average prices for 4- and 5-star properties in the Middle East are more appealing compared to popular European destinations.
  • Hotel composition distribution: The UAE demonstrates a well-balanced distribution of hotels across 3, 4, and 5-star categories, reflecting its commitment to catering to diverse traveller preferences. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, is expanding its 5-star hotel offerings. Qatar showcases a balanced hotel service composition and possesses the highest relative percentage of 5-star hotels in the region.

[1] Dates: 2 january 2023 – 2 April 2023