| 18 April, 2017

Arabian Travel Market: Focus on three-stars and experiences

Men stand at the Dubai International Financial Center in Dubai as the Emirates Towers loom in front.

Men stand at the Dubai International Financial Center in Dubai as the Emirates Towers loom in front.

Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah

Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017

Dubai: To succeed, the Middle East’s travel sector must focus on experiences, according to several industry executives assembled at a press conference on Tuesday for the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event, taking place from April 24 to April 27 in Dubai.

Expo 2020 continues to drive growth, as Dubai aims to complete 160,000 in time to welcome an additional five million visitors over the course of the event, said Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director with organises ATM. This has prompted a boom in the three-star hotel segment, and an increase in airport capacity.

One of the key trends in the industry is experiential travel, he said. This encompasses adventure, culture, heritage, health and wellness, sports, and theme parks.

Emirates Chief Commercial Officer Thierry Antinori said at the press conference that people were looking for “a more authentic and engaging travel experience,” whilst Emirates was focused on “meeting and exceeding customer expectations”.

Dubai is well on track to meet its target of 20 million visitors by 2020, according to Essam Abdul Rahim Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and mid-range hotels appear to be performing well as a result.

According to Olivier Harnisch, CEO of Emaar Hospitality, the company’s entry in to the three-star market through its Rove brand has been “simply amazing from all perspectives,” describing the numbers as “incredible”.

The next Rove hotel is set to open at the Dubai World Trade Centre in June, and the company has seven more Rove hotels planned over the next two years, predominantly in the UAE.

They are intended to cater to a growing segment of middle class visitors that are expected to make up a large part of the Expo 2020 visitors.

Harnisch added that these three-star hotels, in terms of the volume of properties, would make up a bigger part of Emaar’s business in the coming years than their luxury brand, The Address.

By Ed Clowes Staff Reporter

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