The Arab world covers a vast area encompassing North Africa and the Middle East from Morocco in the West, across North Africa (including Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, Somalia Libya and Egypt and then including a range of states and states in the making in Western Asia including Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, The United Arab Emirates, Oman and Yemen. Israel, though geographically located in the heart of this region is not an Arab country.
I have deliberately mentioned the countries and regions involved. In doing so, readers can readily see that some of these countries are well known as highly successful tourism destinations and others have been dominated by unrest and conflict. There is an unfortunate tendency among many travel industry professionals to make sweeping and often inaccurate generalizations about North Africa and the Middle East as a region dominated by political instability, religious extremism, hostility to the West and nothing much to see except ruins, camels and hot sandy deserts.
The recently released book, Tourism in the Arab World- An industry Perspective, Edited by Hamed Almuhrzi, Hafidh Alriyami both from the Rustaq College Oman and Noel Scott from Griffith University in Queensland (Australia) published by Channel View Publications is one of the few books which comprehensively explores the complexities of tourism in the Arab world. For tourism professionals who seek an understanding of the Arab world as tourism destinations for their clients or as business propositions for tourism product, this book is a valuable resource. Altogether, 32 tourism scholars, including me, have contributed chapters to this book.
Each chapter explores specific tourism issues which apply to each of these Arab counties. Issues such as the role of Islam in tourism to the Arab world, managing and marketing the Haj to Saudi Arabia and the creation of Dubai as a “Disneyland in the Desert” are just a few of the many topics covered in the book. Naturally, some chapters focus on the impact of political instability on tourism to a number of Arab countries which have been most severely impacted including Tunisia, Egypt and Libya among others. The chapter I co-wrote with Dr Gabby Walters (University of Queensland) focuses on how Jordan, which has experienced little internal unrest but borders the unrest of its neighbours; Syria, Iraq and Egypt has adapted its destination marketing to those challenging circumstances. Tourism professionals will find this book to be helpful guide to understanding the many contradictions at play in the Arab world from a tourism context. On one hand there are some Arab countries which have successfully come to rely on tourism for their economic success in a post -oil world. Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi are three Arab states which have done remarkably well in attracting tourists and establishing a dazzling tourism infrastructure in recent years. Morocco, at the Western end of the Arab world has successfully advanced as a tourism success story.
On the other hand Tunisia and Egypt have struggled to recover their once flourishing tourism industries from the effects of the political Uprisings of 2011 due to ongoing political instability punctuated by terrorist attacks targeting tourists. Syria, which in 2010 attracted almost 10 million international tourists, is today all but a no-go zone for international tourism due to its disastrous civil war.
The important point this book addresses for tourism professionals is to appreciate that the Arab world includes some outstanding success stories for tourism as well as huge challenges. The literature of tourism crisis management refers to danger and opportunities. Nowhere in the world is this more appropriate than in the Arab world.
To obtain more details of the book’s content refer to http://www.channelviewpublications.com