The Routledge Handbook on Tourism in the Middle East and North Africa examines the importance of tourism as a historical, economic, social, environmental, religious and political force in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It highlights the ecological and resource challenges related to water, desert environments, climate change and oil. It provides an in-depth analysis of the geopolitical conditions that have long determined the patterns of tourism demand and supply throughout the region and how these play out in the everyday lives of residents and destinations as they attempt to grow tourism or ignore it entirely.

While cultural heritage remains the primary tourism asset for the region as a whole, many new types of tourisms are emerging, especially in the Arabian Gulf region, where hyper-development is closely associated with the increasingly prominent role of luxury real estate and shopping, retail, medical tourism, cruises and transit tourism. The growing phenomenon of an expatriate workforce, and how its segregation from the citizenry creates a dual socio-economic system in several countries, is unmatched by other regions of the world. Many indigenous people of MENA keep themselves apart from other dominant groups in the region, although these social boundaries are becoming increasingly blurred as tourism, being one socio-economic force for change, has inspired many nomadic peoples to settle into towns and villages and rely more on tourists for their livelihoods. All of these issues and more shape the foundations of this book. 

This Handbook is the first of its kind to examine tourism from a broad regional and inclusive perspective, surveying a broad range of social, cultural, heritage, ecological and political matters in a single volume. With a wide range of contributors, many of whom are natives of the Middle East and North Africa, this Handbook is a vital resource for students and scholars interested in Tourism, Middle East Studies and Geography.

part Part I|2 pages

The space and place of MENA

chapter 1|8 pages


Understanding the Middle East and North Africa
ByDallen J. Timothy

chapter 2|13 pages

The physical geography of the Middle East in the Anthropocene

ByC. Michael Hall

chapter 3|12 pages

The Middle East and North Africa

A dynamic cultural realm
ByDallen J. Timothy

chapter 4|19 pages

Tourism trends and patterns in MENA

A resource perspective
ByDallen J. Timothy

part Part II|2 pages

Heritage, culture and urban space

chapter 5|14 pages

Intangible heritage and cultural protection in the Middle East

ByMairna H. Mustafa

chapter 6|12 pages

Deciphering ‘Arab hospitality’

Identifying key characteristics and concerns
ByMarcus L. Stephenson, Nazia Ali

chapter 7|12 pages

Tourism and indigenous communities

Linking reterritorialisation and decolonisation in North Africa
ByChristine N. Buzinde

chapter 8|11 pages

Urban heritage in the Middle East

Heritage, tourism and the shaping of new identities
ByAylin Orbaşlı

part Part III|2 pages

Religion and tourism

chapter 9|16 pages

Religion, pilgrimage and tourism in the Middle East

ByDaniel H. Olsen

chapter 10|12 pages

Islamic tourism in the Middle East

ByHamira Zamani-Farahani, Michele Carboni, Carlo Perelli, Neda Torabi Farsani

chapter 11|10 pages

Contemporary Jewish tourism

Pilgrimage, religious heritage and educational tourism
ByNoga Collins-Kreiner

chapter 12|13 pages

Christian tourism in the Middle East

Holy Land and Mediterranean perspectives
ByDallen J. Timothy, Amos S. Ron

part Part IV|2 pages

Natural and environmental challenges

chapter 14|11 pages

Oil in the Middle East

A critical resource for tourism
BySusanne Becken, Harald A. Friedl

chapter 15|10 pages

Desert landscapes and tourism in the Middle East and North Africa

ByAlan S. Weber

chapter 16|12 pages

Tourism and climate change in the Middle East

ByC. Michael Hall

part Part V|2 pages

Tourism and geopolitics

chapter 17|18 pages

Tourism as a tool for colonisation, segregation, displacement and dispossession

The case of East Jerusalem, Palestine
ByRami K. Isaac

chapter 18|10 pages

Tourism and conflict in the Middle East

ByRichard W. Butler

part Part VI|2 pages


chapter 20|13 pages

Cruise tourism in the Middle East

ByMagdalena Karolak

chapter 21|18 pages

Local transportation and tourism in the MENA region

ByAmmar O. Abulibdeh

chapter 22|17 pages

Air route development and transit tourism in the Middle East

ByBojana Spasojevic, Gui Lohmann

part Part VII|2 pages

Contemporary trends

chapter 23|10 pages

Halal tourism

A growing market on a global stage
ByAsad Mohsin, Chris Ryan

chapter 24|11 pages

Much ado about halal tourism

Religion, religiosity or none of the above?
ByOmar Moufakkir, Yvette Reisinger, Dhoha AlSaleh

chapter 25|10 pages

Tourism, migration and an expatriate workforce in the Middle East

ByKevin Hannam, Cody Morris Paris

chapter 26|12 pages

Business travel and the MICE industry in the Middle East

ByJoan C. Henderson

chapter 27|13 pages

Medical tourism

In search of an economic niche
ByJohn Connell

chapter 29|9 pages


Future research directions
ByDallen J. Timothy