COMCEC Tourism Outlook-2019
Tourism industry has experienced continued expansion and diversification, becoming one of the
most rapidly developing industries in the world. Transformed from an activity of privileged
travelers only some decades ago, tourism today enables more than one billion people to move
across international borders each year. Globalization of goods and services, increased leisure
time, the technological and transport revolutions, relaxation in visa procedures, and rising
middle class have positioned tourism as a major growth tool. Because of the geographical
expansion, competition between the tourist-receiving countries has been intensifying to obtain
the highest share from the expanding international tourism market as a result of the enhanced
transportation facilities and additional income allocated to travel expenses, in line with the
Tourism has continued to be a critical sector in both advanced and developing economies for
economic development, poverty alleviation and sustaining employment. Growth of the tourism
industry also contributes to employment, raises national income, and support balance of
payments. In this regard, tourism sector is an important driver of growth and prosperity and
can play a leading role in reducing poverty particularly in developing countries and the Least
Developed Countries (LDCs).
As a trade in services category, tourism ranks fourth after fuels, chemicals and food products. As
a major source of foreign exchange and investment, tourism also creates much needed
employment and investment opportunities. Tourism’s unparalleled cross-cutting nature and
multiple links to the other economic sectors, further positions it as an efficient multiplier in
global development strategies. Hence, there is a substantial emphasis on developing and
facilitating the tourism industry within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). COMCEC
Economic Summit held in 2009 has defined the tourism as one of the three priority sectors
together with agriculture and transportation. In addition to this, tourism sector is identified by
the COMCEC Strategy as one of the six cooperation areas (among trade, transportation,
agriculture, poverty alleviation, and finance).
This 2019 Outlook aims to provide a brief account of the situation in the OIC Member Countries.
In this respect, the major issues with regards to development of tourism industry in the light of
international tourism trends, the current situation in the member countries and some
comparisons regarding competitiveness of the OIC Member States were analyzed.