Political Economy of Tourism Development in the Gulf

The cases of Muscat and Doha

Authored by: Angeline Turner

Routledge Handbook on Middle East Cities

Print publication date:  June  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650749
eBook ISBN: 9781315625164
Adobe ISBN:


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Oman identified tourism as a potential driver of growth and job opportunities for its burgeoning urban population, while Qatar’s expansion into tourism, already focused strongly on the Doha capital area, aimed partly to support the domestic policy goal of name recognition. In both cases, tourism development has been achieved while adhering to obligations under agreements with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and specifically with the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Having negotiated membership at different times, these states had different commitments but nevertheless managed to address their respective aims. The study notes how Oman’s economic concerns and Doha’s urban pressures affected approaches to their tourism sectors, considers how tourism plans influenced their negotiating strategy with the WTO, , and argues that their respective GATS arrangements provided the policy space required to develop tourism in Muscat and Doha while addressing their main policy goals.

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