1st Edition

International Tourism Development and the Gulf Cooperation Council States Challenges and Opportunities

Edited By Marcus L. Stephenson, Ala Al-Hamarneh Copyright 2017
    288 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    288 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the challenges facing the development of tourism in the six member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This region, which largely comprises the Arabian Peninsula, possesses some of the fastest growing economies in the world and is remarkably unique. It shares similar associations and affinities: tribal histories, royal kinship, political associations, Bedu cultural roots, Islamic heritage, rapid urbanization, oil wealth, rentier dynamics, state capitalist structures, migrant labour, economic diversification policies and institutional restructuring. Therefore, this volume takes the study of tourism away from its normative unit of analysis, where tourism in the region is being examined within the context of the Middle East and the wider Islamic and Arab world, towards an enquiry focusing on a specific geo-political territory and socially defined region.

    Although international tourism development in the region embodies a range of challenges, complexities and conflicts, which are deeply contextualized in this volume, the approach overall does not endorse the normative ‘Gulf bashing’ position that has predominated within the critical enquiries in the region. It presents a forward-looking and realistic assessment of international tourism development, examining development potentialities and constructive ways forward for GCC states and the region as a whole. This edited volume provides a real attempt to examine critically ways in which tourism and its development intersect with the socio-cultural, economic, political, environmental and industrial change that is taking place in the region. By doing so, the book provides a theoretically engaged analysis of the social transformations and discourses that shape our contemporary understanding of tourism development within the GCC region. Moreover, it deciphers tourism development’s role within the context of the GCC states undergoing rapid transformation, urbanization, ultra-modernization, internationalization and globalization. In addition to state-specific illustrations and destination case studies, the work provides insights into relatable themes associated with international tourism development in the region, such as tourism’s relationship with religion, heritage and identity, the environment and sustainability, mobility and cross-border movements, the transport industry, image production and destination branding, mega-development and political stability and instability. The book combines theory with diverse case study illustrations, drawing on disciplinary knowledge from such fields as sociology, political economy and social geography.

    This timely and original contribution is essential reading for students, researchers and academics in the field of tourism studies and related subject areas, along with those who have regional interests in Middle East studies, including Gulf and Arabian Peninsula studies.


    List of figures
    List of plates

    List of tables
    List of contributors

    Introduction: International Tourism Development and the Gulf Cooperation States Marcus L. Stephenson

    Part One: Tourism Development and the Gulf Cooperation Council Region

    1. Theoretical Approaches to the Political Economy of Tourism in the GCC States Matthew Gray

    2. Tourism and Geopolitics in the GCC Region Dallen J. Timothy

    3. Discourses of Tourism and Identity in the Arabian Peninsula William G. Feighery

    4. Towards an Integrated Transport Network in the GCC Region: Fostering Tourism and Regional Cooperation Arnd N. Bätzner and Marcus L. Stephenson

    Part Two: The Challenges of International Tourism Development at a National Level

    5. Tourism Development in Bahrain: Dealing with Flux and Transformation Samer Bagaeen

    6. (No) Tourism in Kuwait: Why Kuwaitis are Ambivalent about Developing Tourism Marjorie Kelly

    7. Tourism Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Determining the Problems and Resolving the Challenges Erdogan Ekiz, Zafer Öter and Marcus L. Stephenson

    8. Tourism Development Challenges in Qatar: Diversification and Growth Nadine Scharfenort

    9. Evaluating Ecotourism Challenges in Oman Hafidh Al-Riyami, Noel Scott, Ahmad M. Ragab and Jafar Jafari

    Part Three: Destinations and Opportunities

    10. Examining the Marketing Opportunities of Sharjah as an Islamic Tourism Destination

    Nicholas J. Ashill, Paul Williams and Prakash Chathoth

    11. Kuwait: Why Tourism? Peter Burns and Lyn Bibbings

    12. Deciphering the Environmental Impact of Tourism Development in Dubai: Developing Sustainable Directives and a Citizenship Agenda Marcus L. Stephenson and Anuradha Vyas

    13. Pilgrimage and Tourism Development in Saudi Arabia: Understanding the Challenges and Opportunities Joan C. Henderson

    14. Transnational Heritage in Abu Dhabi: Power, Politics and Identity Sarina Wakefield

    15. A Critical Evaluation of the Potentiality of Tourism and Destination Development in Failaka Island Cody Morris Paris

    Afterword: Beyond Petromodernity - Excavating pathways for Khaleeji Tourism Studies Waleed Hazbun



    Marcus L. Stephenson  is a Professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management, and Dean of the School of Hospitality at Sunway University (Malaysia). Prior to this appointment in October 2017, he was Professor and Head of the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at the University of the South Pacific (Fiji). Marcus holds a PhD in Social Tourism from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK) and he has published extensively on the sociology of tourism, especially concerning nationality, race, ethnicity, culture and religion. His current research interests focus on Islamic hospitality and tourism, and tourism development in the GCC and South Pacific region. He is co-author of Tourism and Citizenship: Rights, Freedoms and Responsibilities in the Global Order, a Routledge publication (2014).

    Ala Al-Hamarneh is an Assistant Professor of Human Geography and Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research on the Arab World (CERAW), Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Sharjah (UAE). He holds a Masters in Human Geography and a PhD in Economic and Social Geography from Kiev State University, Ukraine. Ala co-edited Islam and Muslims in Germany (2008), which was the December 2008 Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner (USA). Currently he is involved in research on intra-regional mobilities in the GCC region and neoliberal urban developments in the Arab world.