With a rising population and increasing disposable incomes especially in the GCC countries, destinations in Europe as well as Asia are now homing in on its multi billion outbound travel market, which could top $20bn within the next 20 years, according to the World Tourism Organisation (WTO).
Consistent with that point of view, Arabian Travel Market 2012, which takes place at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre from 30 April - 3 May, has witnessed a surge in enquiries which has culminated in almost 59% of exhibition space.
“The region is not only one of the fastest growing inbound markets, but for some, more crucially, it is one of the fastest growing outbound markets. We have recieved bookings from all five continents of the world reconfirming the importance of this regions outbound tourism potential,” said Mark Walsh, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of Arabian Travel Market 2011.
The WTO reckons that an additional two million Arabs will travel abroad within the next twenty years, taking its total of outbound tourists to 37 million, spending an estimated $20bn and accounting for 2.2% of global outbound travel, a rise of 0.7%.
“Those numbers may seem modest, but it is a case of quality not quantity with travelers from this region. According to the WTO, the average tourist from the UAE spends $22,000 a year on flights and accommodation alone, totaling $6.6bn annually spent on outbound travel. Saudi Arabia’s market is worth an estimated $4.8bn,” added Walsh.
Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, Arabian Travel Market 2012 will return to a complete business format, forsaking the consumer element of previous years.
“We have found that many independent leisure travelers now prefer to carry out their own internet research at home. Therefore the show is now dedicated to travel industry professionals,” said Walsh.
The 2011 edition of the leading travel exhibition in the Middle East, accommodated 2,236 exhibitors covering over 20,000 square metres and attracted more than 22,000 visitors.