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$ 50 bn Arab tourism industry faces ‘heat’

The Middle East and North Africa will be especially hard hit by climate change in the coming decades, the World Bank said in a report yesterday, saying the region will see less rainfall, more recording-breaking temperatures and rising sea levels.
Should temperatures rise as expected, the hotter conditions are likely to hit the region’s $ 50 billion tourism industry and further worsen its food security since many countries in the region — especially Gulf states — depend heavily on imports to feed their populations. Crop failures will also increase while yields will decrease and household incomes will fall, the report said.
The report was presented at the UN climate negotiations in Doha, Qatar, where nearly 200 delegates for the first time are in the Middle East to discuss cutting emissions.
Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali Al-Naimi urged participants to catch the unique opportunity to implement the framework agreement on climate change and its protocols and set the foundation for a better future to confront the problem after 2020.
Among the most critical problems in the Middle East and North Africa will be worsening water shortages.
The region already has the lowest amount of freshwater in the world. With climate change, droughts in the region are expected to turn more extreme, water runoff is expected to decline 10 percent by 2050 while demand for water is expected to increase 60 percent by 2045.

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