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Arab world lost $7 billion in tourism revenue due to upheaval: official

Chairman of the Arab Tourism Organization says industry players need to diversify and try to attract domestic tourism

Ahram Online, Friday 30 Sep 2011
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The Arab world has lost more than US$7 billion in tourism revenue as a result of 2011's upheaval, the chairman for the Arab Tourism Organization (ATO) has said.

Saudi-born Bandar bin Fahd Al Fahed was speaking on the sidelines of a press conference convened by the Aqaba Chamber of Commerce in Jordan to mark the signing of a deal for tourism investment insurance with the Islamic Development Bank.
 
Also in attendance was Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Taleb Rifai. He said the tourism sector had seen falls over the last year of 11 per cent in the eastern Arab world and 13 per cent in the western part.
 
This contrasted with an overall rise of 5.2 per cent in global tourism over the same period.
 
Rifa called for Arab industry players to pay greater attention to domestic travellers and diversify its products while boosting cultural tourism.
 
He added that the tourism sector in the world's third largest industry, contributing $1.2 trillion -- or 5.2 per cent -- of the total economy every year, and is responsible for one in every 12 job opportunities. 
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