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Comparative Environmental Economic Analysis of the Tourism Sector in the MENA Region


Since the beginning of the 1990's, the tourism sector has rapidly grown in the MENA countries with adverse environmental effects. The relationship between environmental requirements and tourism productivity is complex. In fact, ecologists consider that tourism activities are incompatible with the current lack of resources (e.g. fresh water, energy) and may lead to large landscape and shore deteriorations. On the other hand, managers argue that tourism activities create high value-added and incentives for protecting the natural patrimony. The reality lies somewhere in between. In order to set the limits in this domain, policies are needed.

The comparative environmental economic analysis of the tourism sector in the MENA region will help to link environmental and economic perspectives. The project approach consists in estimating the monetary value of environmental damages.

The project will offer decision-making tools that can balance the economic and environmental perception of tourism. The findings and conclusions will support the policy-makers' strategic choices and prioritizing.


The project aims to define and analyse decision-makings tools (based on the monetary valuation of the environment) for the tourism sector in the MENA region in order to ensure the economic efficiency of environmental protection (i.e. to guarantee that the most efficient remediation measures are used first).

The overall goal of such environmental economic study is to address several normative issues to guide tourism activities.

Analysis approach

The environmental economic approach applied to the tourism sector in the MENA region will answer the following questions:
The project will also provide answers to the following questions:
Additionally, the project will take into account potential problems that the tourism sector will face:

Environmental category and data

To conduct such environmental economic study, it is important to define first the potential damage and inefficiency related to the tourism sector in the MENA region. In this respect, the following environmental categories will be addressed:
The analysis will observe the impact of tourism on the demand of water and natural resources, on traffic congestion and emissions as well as its impacts on land quality (landscape, littoral).
The project requires secondary data to highlight the economic dimensions of the tourism sector (VA, turnover, direct and indirect employment, number of tourists, prices) and its environmental repercussions (resources used, waste generated, pollutant emitted).

Project outputs

The project will have three major outputs:


This research is supported by a grant from the Economic Research Forum: www.erf.org.eg
Main findings will be presented during an international conference to be held in Morocco on 27-28 November 2010.

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