Middle East showing signs of recovery

15th Sep 2009
Middle East showing signs of recovery

The Middle East is well placed to bounce back from the current economic crisis, according to research from global travel management company HRG.

HRG believes that the region’s large number of international flight connections and investments in both infrastructure and hotels means the market is in a good position to bounce back from the downturn.

The report comes as Dubai showed signs of emerging from the crisis with the launch of the Gulf States’ first Metro system, last week.

HRG’s Middle East West Asia (MEWA), Divisional Senior Vice President, Dnata Travel Services, Iain Andrew, said: “Continued investment in infrastructure, a varied and high quality hotel offering and an emerging reputation as a hub for international business mean that the Middle East is well-placed to emerge from the recession as a leading corporate travel destination.

“Meanwhile, we have been working closely with clients in the region to introduce more flexible policies that are helping to maximise value and boost compliance.”


The travel management sector in Dubai is not as well developed in the UK with few companies adhering to a strict policy compliance or using online booking tools.

However, according to HRG, many of its clients are switching to online booking tools and services, giving them management information reports, improve their visibility of travel spend and achieve more control over budgets.

The events and meetings market in the Middle East has also shown encouraging signs, with HRG MEWA reporting a year-on-year increase in the number of enquiries related to incentive travel.

Dubai is also benefiting from the entry of the first budget hotels into the emirate, with Premier Inn helping to balance out the region’s expensive hotel rates.

For travellers paying in US dollars, Dubai has seen a 26% fall in hotel rates compared to this time last year.

Meanwhile, neighbour Abu Dhabi posted a 15% rise in its room rates, according to a report from Hotels.com.

However, dark clouds remain over Dubai, which is struggling to get to grips with an estimated $80 billion-plus debt pile.

The emirate’s largest developer, Nakheel, which is currently constructing the world’s tallest building (pictured above, centre) is in negotiations to restructure up to $12 billion in loans.

Construction has stopped on its most high-profile development, The World, while the restructure takes place.


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