The substantial growth of the international tourism activity is one of the most remarkable economic and social phenomena of the past century. According to the World Tourism Organisation, the number of international tourist arrivals increased from 25.3 million in 1950 to 846 million in 2006, corresponding to an average annual growth rate of 6.6 percent. The revenues generated by those tourists, i.e. international tourism receipts, grew by 11.3 percent per annum over the same period. This rate of growth was significantly higher than that of the world economy as a whole. In 2006, international tourism activity generated US$ 741.2 billion, corresponding to US$ 2 billion per day or US$ 876 per tourist arrival. This makes international tourism one of the largest categories of international trade.
Considering their rich and diverse natural, geographic, historical and cultural heritage assets, the OIC countries, as a group, have in fact a high potential for the development of a sustainable international tourism sector. However, considering the modest share of the OIC region in the world tourism market and the concentration of the tourism activity in only a few OIC countries, it seems that a large part of the tourism potential of the OIC region remains unutilised. The problems facing tourism and the development of a sustainable international tourism sector in the OIC countries are diverse as each country has its own tourism features, level of development and national development priorities and policies.
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International Tourism in the OIC Countries: Prospects and Challenges 2008 (English) (Arabic) (French)