Middle East Leads in UNWTO’s Best Performing Destinations in First Half of 2023

UNWTO's World Tourism Barometer shows Qatar and Saudi Arabia powering global tourism recovery.

Doha, Qatar
Doha / Supplied

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has revealed its list of Best Performing Destinations for January through July 2023. Rankings are based on the percentage change in international tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2019.

Qatar and Saudi Arabia Drive Middle East Tourism Revival

According to the UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer as of September 2023, the Middle East region is leading with Qatar showing a 95% change, followed by Saudi Arabia at 58%. Jordan also ranks in the top 10 best performers with a percentile change of 23%.

UNWTO Best Performing destinations
Data / UNWTO via X

East Africa Shows Promising Tourism Recovery

In the Africa region, East Africa leads the way between January and July 2023, with Ethiopia recovering by 28% and Tanzania at 19%. The UNWTO’s World Tourism Barometer data is based on a sample of destinations with available data for the first six to seven months of 2023.


“The challenging economic environment could weigh on spending patterns over the remainder of the year, with tourists increasingly seeking value for money, travelling closer to home and making shorter trips.”

UNWTO World Tourism Barometer