The GCC and Egypt understand tourism’s potential for economic diversification, growth, and job creation and have sought to become part of the recent global expansion in the sector. While they are still not able to attract their fair share of travelers, the sector still offers a long term attractive opportunity for these countries.
In order to develop the tourism sector, governments need to adopt a systematic and coherent approach and embark on a five-stage tourism journey.
1. Develop a national tourism vision and plans
Governments need to start by defining their national tourism vision and plans, which will incorporate target outcomes, such as the anticipated number of tourists, tourism’s contribution to GDP and job creation, and the country’s desired image as a tourist destination.
2. Institutionalize effective tourism-sector governance
Governments need to put in place effective governance that aligns aspirations and roles of all public and private stakeholders, across the different sub-sectors — airlines, transport companies, accommodation players, event entities and tourism services entities — toward the achievement of the national tourism vision.
3. Identify the target tourist segments
Governments should prioritize the source markets that can make the most significant economic contribution, have convenient travel to the destination, and are a natural fit. They should also define their target tourist segments.
4. Prepare the destination
Governments should develop and enhance high potential tourism products, whether intrinsic (such as culture and heritage, sun and beach or nature) or human-made offerings (such as urban or meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions). Simultaneously, they should enhance the readiness of the destination to welcome tourists, such as accommodation, tour services and activities, and transport. They should adapt all tourism related products and experiences to the target travelers’ needs and emerging preferences.
5. Connect tourists to destinations
Governments need to develop marketing and promotion campaigns aimed at capturing the interest of target travelers in source markets. They then need to set up platforms to streamline converting this interest into bookings, through partnerships or investments in distribution channels (being travel agencies, OTAs, tour operators, etc.) globally and in target source markets. They should facilitate transport connections to the destination.
Once completed, governments will need to repeat the process and review and renew their approach, continuously reinventing and innovating their offerings in line with emerging trends. This will eventually enable them to create reputable global tourism destination with repeat visitors.