"As visitor numbers to MENA start to increase, meet the leaders welcoming recovery in the travel markets," said the Forbes Middle East. This month we release our first ranking of the Middle East’s Top 50 Travel & Tourism Leaders, it added.
H.E. Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways CEO and Qatar Tourism Chairman, H.E. Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, Chairman of Al Faisal Holding, and Hussain Ibrahim Alfardan, Chairman of Alfardan Group have been named in 'Forbes Middle East's Top 50 Travel & Tourism Leaders' as numbers 2, 5 and 28 respectively.
"The travel and tourism industry experienced a revival in 2021, following one of the worst years the sector has ever seen. As countries and people continue to emerge from the cloud of the pandemic, their increasing desire to reconnect with the world is expected to become the driving force of growth in travel throughout 2022."
"Though the industry has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, its recovery so far has been significant. For example, Jordan’s Queen Alia International Airport welcomed 122% more passengers in 2021 than it did in 2020. And the hotel sector is also poised for growth, with Marriott International expected to open around 25 new properties in the region this year."
Here's an excerpt from the Forbes Middle East magazine March issue:
On H.E. Al Baker:
Al Baker has been the CEO of Qatar Airways since 1997. The company recorded assets of $38.9 billion and revenues of $8.1 billion for the 2021 fiscal year, which ended March 2021. It has 36,707 employees and a fleet of 234 aircraft. In early 2022, the company announced a deal with Boeing worth over $27 billion in orders for its 777X freighter and 737-10 passenger aircraft. Al Baker has a private pilot's license and is also the chairman of Qatar Tourism. He was also appointed chairman of the Oneworld airline alliance's governing board in May 2021.
On H.E. Sheikh Faisal Al Thani:
Al Thani established ARTIC in 2003 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Al Faisal Holding to manage the hospitality interests of its parent group. The company has 29 hotels in MENA, Europe, and North America, including St. Regis Washington DC, the W Miami Hotel, and the W London Hotel. Al Thani had a net worth of $19 billion as of February 24, 2022.
On Hussain Alfardan:
Alfardan established the Alfardan Group in 1954. It expanded to include Alfardan Hospitality in 2006. Its hotels include the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, the Pearl-Doha, Kempinski Residences & Suites Doha, the St. Regis Doha, and the St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat. Alfardan also founded the Commercial Bank of Qatar, where he is the vice chairman and he is the first deputy to the chairman at the Qatar Businessmen Association.
The hotels and hospitality sector is the most dominant with 26 entries, followed by aviation with 17, and tourism with seven entries.
For this ranking, Forbes Middle East included leaders that span across the entire travel ecosystem, including aviation, hotels, and destinations. All individuals had to be based in the Middle East. They're ranked based on:
• Size of the business, including revenue, values of investments, and asset value.
• Ownership of assets.
• Designation of the business leader.
• Experience of the business leader.
• Degree of influence of the business leader.
• Other achievements of the business leader.
Related: Two Qatari businesswomen named in Forbes '50 Most Powerful Businesswomen' in the MENA region
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