The tourism industry in Arab countries, mainly in the member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council, grew by 3.9 per cent in 2014, an official reveals.
The total value of the pan-Arab gross tourism product amounted to a staggering $90 billion, says president of the Arab Tourism Organisation, Bandar Bin Fahad al-Fuhaid.
He adds in remarks published by Al-Riyadh newspaper that the tourism and travel sector added roughly 12 million direct jobs.
Al-Fuhaid notes that the United Arab Emirates has been ranked as the top Arab country in terms of tourism competitiveness.
A report published by the organisation revealed that the tourism sector grows in parallel and even pushes growth in sectors such as transport, information technology and finance among others, according to Al-Fuhaid.
The official also stressed the importance of medical tourism, which has become a key source of national income, pointing out that medical tourism comprises five to ten per cent of the total value of global tourism.
He indicates that spending on medical tourism in the Arab region amounts to $27bn a year.
($1 = AED3.67, at the time of publishing)