Tourism and Hospitality Industry in the Middle East Research Paper

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Arab Spring Reshapes the Tourism and Hospitality Industry in the Middle East

Research Structure

Arab Spring

Importance of Tourism in the Effected Regions

Negative Impacts of Arab Spring on the Tourism Sector of the Middle Eastern Region

Selection of Keywords





Recommendations for Further Research

The Arab Spring Reshapes the Tourism and Hospitality Industry in the Middle East

The Arab Springs can be defined as a series of revolutions along the Middle Eastern countries, for example Tunisia and Egypt. On the 17th of December, in the year 2010, a vegetable vendor set himself on fire. The name of this vendor was Mohamed Bouazizi. This event occurred in a Tunisian town of Sidi Bouzid. As a result of this act great political upheaval was raised in the North Africa and the Middle East known. This political upheaval was known as "Arab Spring." (Youssef and Lafferty et al., 2013, pp. 960-962)

A number of demands were voiced by both, the protesters as well as the rebels. These demands had a similar impact across the entire region. The demands and protests asked for an increase in inclusion in the political life as well as economic life, betterment of governance and enhancement of the strength of civil liberties. The outcomes of the upheavals caused by the Arab spring varied from region to region. These upheavals reflected the social cleavages that were associated with the specific countries and were covered by the government of those countries in the name of securing political and social stability. (Youssef and Lafferty et al., 2013, pp. 960-962)

This revolution had a number of impacts on the political and economic dimensions of the Middle Eastern countries. Old leaders were replaced by the newer ones as a result of this revolutionary activity. Though it has created many adverse effects on tourism of the regions that were affected by it, it led towards the development of demographic dividend in the Arab Countries. In other words, due to the creation of demographic dividend it is estimated that the workforce will be more than the populace dependent on it. The Arab youth is modern and highly educated. Furthermore, it creates a bigger portion of the region's population; this might lead to it being an asset rather than a liability. The workforce would be larger and more skilled, resulting in speedy economic growth in the area. But a long-term effect of this demographic dividend would be that the elderly population will be more than the youth, causing reduction in the workforce. (Youssef and Lafferty et al., 2013, pp. 960-962)

The Arab Springs resulted in an overall decrease in the political stability of Middle Eastern countries, which, in turn, led to a drastic reduction in tourism of the region. In some countries, such as Egypt it dropped down by almost 80%. In Luxor, Egypt, which is also known as the Valley of the Kings, nineteen people died in an explosion in a hot air balloon. Also, an armed mob infiltrated into a hotel in central Cairo and the chefs and waiters had to fight them off with saucepans and other crockery. Such events had a far-reaching effect on tourism. (Youssef and Lafferty et al., 2013, pp. 960-962)

As tourism is an industry which flourishes in peaceful conditions, with stable political conditions and most of the countries in the Middle East rely mainly on tourism for their economic development. The spark created by the Arab Springs resulted in a steep reduction of the Gross Domestic Product of these countries. In some countries it reduced from 4.2% to 2.2% in just a few months. (Youssef and Lafferty et al., 2013, pp. 960-962)

In this study, we analyze some of the political and economic consequences of the Arab Spring and assess opportunities and challenges facing the affected countries. We focus on the Arab countries in North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia) and the Levant region (Lebanon, Jordan and Syria) as well as Yemen.

1.2. Problem Statement

The Arab spring led towards a sharp decline in the tourism and hospitality industries of the regions that were central to this revolution. A number of major tourism destinations including the region of Tunisia and Egypt witnessed a major decline in the number of visitors. This decline was triggered by the uprisings which were a part of the Arab spring. These uprisings, when confronted with the autocratic regime, turned out to be deadly and very hazardous for the growth of the tourism industry. (Sadiq, 2012, pp. 3-21)

The popular tourism destinations outside the Middle East and the gulf city state of Dubai became the center of attention for the tourist groups that were diverted from the tourist destinations of the Middle East due to the Arab Spring. It was indicated by Ahmed Youssef, who is the director of marketing and operations (MENA) at Amadeus that as a result of the Arab Spring the Middle Eastern and North African region saw an overall decline in the international arrivals. This decline was quite evident in the regions of Tunisia and Egypt. (Nyaruwata and Mhizha et al., 2013, pp. 43-56)

In addition to that, it has also been indicated by the World Tourism Organization that the arrivals of international tourist declined by almost 8.4 per cent and amounted to 54.8 million in the year 2011 in the Middle Eastern region. These arrivals, however, grew by almost 14.9% in the year 2010. (Nyaruwata and Mhizha et al., 2013, pp. 43-56)

Apart from that, it has also been indicated by the statistics of the World Tourism Organization that due to the developments in the political and social arenas Syria witnessed a decline of almost 41% in the tourism sector, whereas, the declined experienced by the tourism industry of Egypt was 32%. Furthermore, the tourism sector of Tunisia declined by 31% and that of Lebanon by 24%. (Nyaruwata and Mhizha et al., 2013, pp. 43-56)

This study, therefore, aims at analyzing the impacts on the tourism and hospitality industry of Middle East. The study will also propose recommendations to mitigate the negative impacts of Arab spring on the tourism and hospitality industry of the Middle East.

1.3. Research Questions

The research aims at addressing the following questions:

What are the impacts of Arab spring on the tourism and hospitality industry of Middle East?

How can the negative impacts of Arab spring on the tourism and hospitality industry of Middle East be mitigated?

1.4. Research Objectives

The research aims at addressing the following objectives:

To analyze the impacts of Arab spring on the tourism and hospitality industry of Middle East.

To analyze the manner in which the negative impacts of Arab spring on the hospitality and tourism industry of Middle East can be mitigated.

1.5. Research Structure

The research consists of five chapters, including the introductory chapter. The first chapter discusses the background of the research, research questions, research objects and the relevance of the study. The second chapter is of literature review. This chapter closely scrutinizes the existing literature in relation to the issue under consideration.

The third chapter is of research methodology. This chapter discusses the methods used for the collection, analysis and presentation of data. The fourth chapter, which is of discussion, discusses the collected data and ties it with the existing literature, which was discussed in the literature review chapter. The fifth chapter is of conclusion and it ties up all the research questions and propose recommendations to mitigate the negative impacts of the Arab spring.

1.6. Relevance of the Research

This study will prove out be significant for the investors and businesses that operate in the tourism industry. In addition to that, it would also provide relevant information to the academic institutions, business organizations and individual researchers, who aim at conducting research in the same area.


This section analyzes and critically examines the previous research that exists in relation to the issue under consideration.

2.1. Arab Spring

The Arab Spring was actually initiated in the middle of the winter of the year 2010. On 17th of December, in the year 2010, the cart of a vegetable seller, named Mohammed Bouazizi, was confiscated by a municipal inspector. This event occurred in Sidi Bouzid, which is provincial city of Tunisia. The reason behind the confiscation of the cart was that the vegetable seller did not possess a vending license. (Rosiny, 2012, pp. 1-8)

The inspector followed the usual routine, which indicated that in order to operate the vendor must have strong connections with influential political personalities or have enough money to bribe the authorities. Both these conditions were more vital than having a license, in order to operate. The appeals made by him were denied and ignored by the authorities. Mohammed Bouazizi reacted to this state of helplessness and humiliation in a desperate manner by going for self-immolation in front of a building that belonged to the local government. (Rosiny, 2012, pp. 1-8)

The elements that underlined and unified all the protests that were conducted under the Arab spring…[continue]

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