For the last two decades, the 11 countries of the Southern Mediterranean (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey) have recorded the highest growth rates in inbound world tourism, with domestic tourism increasing rapidly too. The economic performance of tourism in the 'MED 11' has been astonishing, given the security risks, natural disasters, oil prices rises and economic uncertainties in the region and the recent financial crisis. This trend came to an abrupt halt in early 2011 during the Arab Spring, but could well resume when the situation stabilises.
This MEDPRO Report looks at whether this trend will continue up to 2030, and provides four different possible scenarios for the development of the tourism sector in MED 11 for 2030: i) reference scenario, ii) common sustainable development scenario, iii) polarised (regional) development scenario and iv) failed development (decline and conflict) scenario. In all cases, international and domestic tourism arrivals will increase. However, two main factors will continue to influence the development of the tourism sector in the MED 11 countries: security and adjustment to climate change.
Robert Lanquar is a former civil servant of the UN World Tourism Organization and professor at a number of universities, specialising in Mediterranean issues.