Air route development and transit tourism in the Middle East

Authored by: Bojana Spasojevic , Gui Lohmann

Routledge Handbook on Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138651920
eBook ISBN: 9781315624525
Adobe ISBN:


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Air route development, as a key industry process, involves not only the development and maintenance of routes but also, on a strategic level, the opportunity to exploit gateway or transit tourism opportunities. Transit air transport tourism development parallels the transformation of airports from transportation hubs to tourist destinations. Previous studies have identified the Middle East region as a place that has successfully exploited transit air transport tourism opportunities. For the purpose of this book chapter, a total of 20 countries have been identified as comprising the Middle East, for geographical, ethnicity or cultural reasons. They are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE and Yemen. In the first instance, a number of flights in the ten-year period between January 2006 and December 2015 were gathered, using the database AirportIS in 2016. The Middle East region had the highest transit passenger growth in the world between 2006 and 2015, with an average of 98 per cent. Furthermore, in the same period, some of the Middle East countries like Turkey, UAE and Qatar had a constant growth regarding the number of international flights, while others like Syria, Libya and Iraq were affected by political instability. This chapter analyses the Middle East region through the establishment of transit destinations and the development of new air routes.

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