Middle East urged to boost religious tourism

17 March 2009

Travel operators in the Middle East should focus on capturing the potential of the religious tourism sector, which is currently valued at $18bn per year, says Kevin Wright, President of the World Religious Travel Association. Currently, the majority of religious tourism is driven by the Middle East, but more travel alternatives need to be developed to capture the three billion people across the globe that have religious roots in the region. Jordan and Palestine are both seen as growth markets, with 95% of tourism in Palestine religion-based and Jordan aiming to garner tourism revenues of up to $2.4bn per year by 2010. Similarly, Iraq's religious sector is booming with the sacred shrine of Prophet Mohammad welcoming 8 million pilgrims a year.

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