Ecotourism is a safe travel practices that respect nature and does not contribute to any damage to nature and the environment. Ecotourism enable easy understanding of the history of the nations and conserves nature and also promote the environment sustainability. Moreover, it also involves the interpretation and education of beautiful cities and explores other countries. Moreover, it also enhance learning of various facts of different locations.
The GCC ecotourism market was estimated to be valued more than US$ 480.0 million in terms of revenue in 2019 and is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 3.3% during the forecast period (2020 to 2027).
The rising importance of environment protection and nourishment is expected to accelerate the market growth of the ecotourism in GCC. Countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Oman are investing heavily in order to develop the ecotourism sector. Emerging various social media due to growing penetration of internets is increasing visibility of the region as ecotourism is also expected to foster the market growth of ecotourism in GCC over the forecast period. All these factors are expected to spur the market growth of the ecotourism in GCC over the forecast timeframe.
Shifting preferences of consumers towards leisure and recreational activities is expected to serve major opportunities to the market of ecotourism in GCC. Expanding airlines and travel industries due to increasing investment by government and overall economic growth is also expected to foster the market growth of ecotourism in GCC. According to The International Air Transport Association, airline industry contributed around US$ 47.4 billion to the economy, accounting for 13.3% of the UAE's GDP in 2019. The UAE's aviation market will grow 170% by 2037, and contribute US$ 128 billion in GDP to the nation's economy.
Low awareness regarding the ecotourism in GCC region is expected to be a major factor hampering the market growth. Moreover, ecotourism is expensive as compared to mass tourism which is further expected to augment the market growth of ecotourism in GCC.
On the basis of category, nature dominated the GCC ecotourism market in 2019 with around 48% of market share in terms of revenue, followed by wildlife and generic, respectively.
Growing awareness regarding the benefits of travel among consumers is shifting their focus towards exploring adventurous places. This is expected to be a key trend in the market. Increasing focus of the government on ecologically sustainable tourism and enhancing the quality of the life of local’s inhabitants is also expected to spur the market growth. Moreover, the growing trend towards visiting wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks in the region is further attracting tourists, thereby fueling market growth.
The government of the GCC region in undertaking various projects for conserving nature and raising awareness regarding the importance of responsible tourism development is a growing trend. For instance, the president of UAE during the launching of UAE Vision 2021 clearly emphasized in protecting natural environment from excessive tourism activities encouraging the growth of more eco-tourism destinations in UAE. UAE is focusing on developing various natural sites and tourist hotels across historical areas in order to enhance the traveler's experiences so that they can enjoy natural areas such as oasis, natural hot springs, and natural reserves. Additionally, the growing focus of traveler in exploring unexplored places due to a busy lifestyle is again expected to propel the market growth of ecotourism in GCC over the forecast period.
GCC Ecotourism Market - Impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Pandemic
Global tourist arrivals in March dropped sharply by 57% following the start of a lockdowns in many countries along with widespread introduction of closure of airports owing to travel restrictions. The tourism sector in the Middle East is expected to recover by the end quarter of 2021.
Key players are operating in the GCC Ecotourism market are Ramada Worldwide, Jumeirah, Le Meridien, Emirates, Qatar, Gulf air, Thomas Cook