Data and projections: November 2022

Chart of the quarter

In May 2022, Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai and Oman all recorded more visitor arrivals than in the same month in 2019 for the first time since the start of the pandemic (Dubai had briefly surpassed this level in March during the Expo finale). However, May numbers were inflated by Eid al Fitr, which saw large numbers of Saudis visiting neighbouring countries, followed by a pullback in June. Although, during Q3 most of these countries again received more visitors than in 2019. The exception was Dubai, which averaged only 80% of its 2019 visitor numbers in June-August, less than its average in the first part of the year. A contributing factor to this may have been a coronavirus wave of Omicron variants which peaked in the UAE but has now declined. However, other indicators, such as the tourism component of Dubai’s PMI, point to strong momentum in the sector. The World Cup, which begins on 20 November, will provide impetus not only in Qatar, which will receive over six months of tourists in just a month and with high levels of pre-visitor spending, but also for Dubai, Oman and Saudi Arabia, which will host some fans. As there are still no direct flights between Bahrain and Qatar, Bahrain is unlikely to receive a significant benefit.

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Hani Ashkar

Hani Ashkar

Middle East Senior Partner, PwC Middle East

Stephen Anderson

Stephen Anderson

Strategy and Markets Leader, PwC Middle East

Richard Boxshall

Richard Boxshall

Middle East Chief Economist, PwC Middle East

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