The coming-of-age of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s youthful population will reshape the travel industry in the region over the next fifteen years, as digital natives instinctively turn to mobile technologies and social media to plan, book and manage travel, according to new research from Amadeus.
Today, nearly 25 per cent of the GCC population is under 15 years of age, and as this demographic becomes tomorrow’s decision makers, it will shake up traditional behaviours to become increasingly self-directed.
As outlined in the Amadeus-commissioned new report, Shaping the Future of Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council: Big Travel Effects, additional unfolding demographic forces such as a steady inflow of expatriate workers, robust natural population growth and a growing middle class, will combine to drive a new and divergent set of travel behaviours and needs in the region.
The report, written by Frost & Sullivan and Insights and commissioned by Amadeus, examines and contextualises the various ways a new travel landscape will develop in the Gulf region over the next fifteen years.
“The Gulf region is poised for a new era of travel as investment in infrastructure, new tourism sectors, and governmental initiatives to ease intra- and extra-regional movement make the GCC more attractive to leisure and business travellers,” said Antoine Medawar, vice president, MENA, Amadeus.
He added: “The travel providers who address the nuanced needs of the region’s population stand to thrive in the coming decades.
“At Amadeus our people, our technology and our innovation are dedicated to helping our customers and partners to shape the future of travel in this region.”
Further key findings include:
- Economies in the GCC are diversifying beyond oil, and specialist tourism sectors such as cruise, meetings and conferences and medical tourism play a prominent role in this diversification. As a result, GCC countries have maintained an average GDP growth of over five per cent in the past decade, with a greater increase expected in the future.
- Tourism will have a trickle-down effect into other sectors, furthering economic growth and diversification. Hospitality and construction in particular will benefit as the number of travellers entering or passing through the region increases - Qatar expects 3.7 million tourists in 2022 due to the FIFA World Cup and is investing $20 billion on tourism infrastructure and $140 billion on transport.
- The GCC is working to make travel easier, both within the region and outbound. The difficulty of obtaining a visa has been the main reason for a third of travellers surveyed not taking trips as often as they would like. By improving accessibility within the region and abroad, the number of intra-regional travellers is expected to increase four-fold by 2030.
“Travel in the Gulf region is changing. Economic diversification and a move from oil is an important driver, but there are many more subtle factors also at play.
“Changes in population and geopolitical pressure to open borders and make movement easier are also impacting the future of travel here,” observed Mona Faraj, managing partner, Insights.
The report was informed by a survey of some 1,000 travellers from the region as well as interviews with thought leaders in the travel industry.
It highlights the technologically savvy and growing population of the GCC and predicts a travel landscape will develop in the region that is highly connected, personalised, and sustainable.
To download a free copy of the report “Shaping the future of Travel in the GCC: Big Travel Effects” please visit the Amadeus: website.