Sustainable Tourism in the Middle East: The Role of Green Technology:
Millions of tourists visit the Middle East yearly because of its rich history and culture. However, with the rise of sustainable tourism, there is an increasing concern about the impact of tourism on the environment. This has led to a call for the use of green technology and sustainable practices in the tourism industry to reduce the carbon footprint of tourism and preserve the environment.
Transforming The Travel Industry Through Sustainable Tourism
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, sustainable tourism presented an estimated market opportunity of US$246 billion in 2022 in the Middle East alone. Arabian Travel Market (ATM) has also noted that people in the Middle East are becoming more interested in eco-friendly and luxurious travel. Because of this change, the tourism sector is now more focused on sustainability and using methods that have the least amount of impact on the environment.
The tourist industry is taking steps toward a more sustainable future by using tools and processes focused on sustainability. As part of this change, the number of eco-retreats in places like the UAE, Qatar, and Oman has grown by a large amount. These resorts are getting more and more popular with tourists, especially local tourists who want to stay at places that care about eco-friendly practices.
Also, global airlines are investing in cutting-edge technologies to reduce the environmental effect of traveling, and airlines from the Middle East are leading the way toward net-zero goals and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Hotels and resorts are also trying to reduce their environmental impact by reducing their use of single-use plastics, using less energy, and using renewable and eco-friendly materials.
There is an increasing amount of attractions and activities in the Middle East, made to have minimal effects on the environment. In Dubai, for example, Sand Sherpa offers eco-adventures like camping and animal safaris in protected areas. In the UAE, Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, created for Expo 2020 Dubai and is now in Expo City Dubai, continues to amaze tourists with its interactive journey through forest roots and ocean depths.
All of these changes and more are encouraged and helped by many government-run programs for sustainability in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, for example, is trying to become a sustainable tourism spot by working on projects that combine world-class guest experiences with protecting the environment. This is part of its Vision 2030 plan to bring in 10 million more tourists per year. Also, recently, the Dubai College of Tourism and Dubai Sustainable Tourism, which are both parts of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, started a new course to improve sustainable tourist services as the city gets ready to host COP28 in November 2023.
The Middle East’s tourism industry is an important contributor to the region’s economy, but it is also a major source of carbon emissions. Green technology and sustainable practices have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint of the industry and preserve the environment.