The Routledge Handbook on Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa examines the importance of tourism as a historical, economic, social, environmental, religious and political force in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It highlights the ecological and resource challenges related to water, desert environments, climate change and oil. It provides an in-depth analysis of the geopolitical conditions that have long determined the patterns of tourism demand and supply throughout the region and how these play out in the everyday lives of residents and destinations as they attempt to grow tourism or ignore it entirely.
While cultural heritage remains the primary tourism asset for the region as a whole, many new types of tourisms are emerging, especially in the Arabian Gulf region, where hyper-development is closely associated with the increasingly prominent role of luxury real estate and shopping, retail, medical tourism, cruises and transit tourism. The growing phenomenon of an expatriate workforce, and how its segregation from the citizenry creates a dual socio-economic system in several countries, is unmatched by other regions of the world. Many indigenous people of MENA keep themselves apart from other dominant groups in the region, although these social boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred as tourism, being one socio-economic force for change, has inspired many nomadic peoples to settle into towns and villages and rely more on tourists for their livelihoods. All of these issues and more shape the foundations of this book.
This Handbook is the first of its kind to examine tourism from a broad regional and inclusive perspective, surveying a broad range of social, cultural, heritage, ecological and political matters in a single volume. With a wide range of contributors, many of whom are natives of the Middle East and North Africa, this Handbook is a vital resource for students and scholars interested in Tourism, Middle East Studies and Geography.