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COMCEC Tourism Outlook-2018



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

improving welfare.

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 2018 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.