Tourism is one of the most important sources of employment and wealth for the Southern Europe and the MENA Region. The tourism industry has steadily grown over the years, even though the Arab Uprisings and the political turmoil in the Southern Mediterranean has posed a great challenge for the survival of tourism in some southern countries. Tourism is also a driver of cultural enrichment, since it connects people belonging to different social and national backgrounds.
Tourist arrivals in the Southern Europe and the MENA Region (2017)
France (86,9 million) – France is the worldwide top destination for tourism. The richness of vibrant cultural events in Paris, the beauty of Cote d’Azur and Bretagne, the emotional sceneries in the Loire Valley and the famous French wines attract every year millions of people from all over the world.
Spain (81.7 million) – Spain holds in its territory a huge variety of landscapes, climates, and cultures. The monumental buildings in Madrid, the Arab roots in beautiful Andalusia, the vitality and dynamicity of Barcelona and Valencia are the main spots for tourists.
Italy (58.3 million) – The country with the highest number of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in the world. Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan, Naples, Palermo and the incomparable beauty of many small are the main spots chosen by tourists. And we cannot forget the Alps, the lakes in northern and central Italy, the crystal waters in Sardinia, Apulia, Calabria and the regional variety of Italian cuisine and wines.
Turkey (37.6 million) – The former Sublime Porte and the place of connection between the Western and Eastern World. A country where religions and cultures have always mixed, as witnessed by the rich cultural heritage in the main cities. Istanbul – with its western and eastern part – Cappadocia, Bodrum and, in general, the Turkish Riviera attract millions of people during all over the year.
Greece (27.2 million) – The birthplace of Western civilization, Greece houses the most ancient traces of Western culture. Athens and the Parthenon, Thessaloniki, Patras, Crete and the stunning islands in the Mediterranean are the main hotspots of this beautiful country.
Portugal (21,2 million) – The beautiful cities of Lisbon and Porto, the stunning landscapes on the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, Fatima, Coimbra, the Azores and the joyful atmosphere all over the countries attract many tourists from all over the world.
Saudi Arabia (16,1 million) – The country houses the Islam holy cities of Mecca and Medina and, therefore, attracts every year’s millions of believers.
UAE (15,8 million) – Dubai, Abu-Dhabi and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Hajar Mountains, the desert and the beaches are the main hotspots attracting tourists in the country.
Croatia (15,6 million) – The country enjoys a rich variety of landscapes and climates. From the land-closed Osijek to the infinite coasts on the Adriatic Sea, with beautiful Istrian and Dalmatian towns preserving their Venetian roots, the country is a perfect mix of ancient European traditions.
Morocco (11,4 million) -The Imperial cities of Fez, Marrakesh, Meknes and Rabat, and the cities of Casablanca, Fez, and Agadir with its beach resort are the main attractions of this country full of history and traditions.