|23 January, 2020

Outbound travel from Middle East on a surge

UAE is the second biggest source market for outbound travel from the Middle East

The Mice industry is anticipated to reach over $1.4 billion in the next five years registering a CAGR of 7.6 per cent. According to a research paper published by Allied Market Research, the UNWTO projects the Middle East as one of the fastest-growing tourism generators globally, with outbound travel having quadrupled in the last two decades, which makes the region an important source market for any destination.

UAE is the second biggest source market for outbound travel from the Middle East, surpassed by Saudi Arabia with business and luxury outbound travellers being a combination of locals and expats. The growing number of destinations served by the UAE's airlines is also one of the factors that attribute to the growth of outbound travel from the UAE. However, new generations with different demands are taking over the market, the concern for sustainability is increasing with health and lifestyle becoming a very important factor for destination selection.

The eighth Annual Meetings Arabia and Luxury Travel Congress scheduled to take place in Dubai, UAE at the Rixos Premium JBR on February 25-26 will once again bring the entire realm of meetings, events, business and luxury travel buyers from across the region to meet top suppliers and discuss diverse trends, strategies, challenges and solutions in the industry.

On the Southeast part of the Asian continent, Singapore welcomed over 2.9 million Mice visitors that led to a growth of 12.1 per cent in the year 2017. Over the last year, tourist receipts rose by 7.2 per cent reaching a total of $4.68 billion. In 2019, the country has seen an increase in interest in meetings and incentives groups from several Middle Eastern corporations leading to a positive influx.

Commenting on their participation, Beverly Au Yong, area director, Middle East, Singapore Tourism Board said: “We are extremely thrilled to be on board for the eighth edition of the Meetings Arabia & Luxury Travel Congress especially with the launch of a new version of the ‘In Singapore Incentive & Reward’ (INSPIRE). This is an incentive program that has been launched in order to attract more visitors amongst the growing Mice sector. This new global programme will serve as a key platform that has been designed to engage visitors and offer complimentary experiences who are excited to explore the country. Through this conference, we aim to create more awareness of this incentive program and learn the different trends and strategies that have shaped today’s Mice industry.”

Korean Mice destinations have also become one of the best meeting and conferences destinations due to their rapid modern developments in infrastructure and an improvement in offering excellent services and accessibility for all tourists. 2017-2018 UIA statistics reveal that South Korea has become extremely popular for hosting international conventions with more than 1,000 meetings throughout the year. With Seoul and Busan changing their overview dynamically, both cities have harnessed their capacities to organize successful business events and see an increase in the tourism sector to experience their culture, heritage, food and much more. The Seoul Tourism Organisation is also participating in the Malt Conference, where the organisation will be exploring sustainability in the tourism division.

Commenting on the same, Jihyun Kim, director at Seoul Convention Bureau Seoul Tourism Organisation, said: “The keyword in tourism is sustainability as it is the big word for the areas related to tourism, economy and culture. In response to this, exciting options will be presented to event planners to aid in establishing their business events eco-friendly and socially sustainable. Also, the advancement in technology will find its way to be implemented in many areas of travelling to bring the convenience to the highest level, while people are in continuous search of authentic local experience to satisfy their sensation to the fullest.”

While part of this growth can be attributed to the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s large expatriate populations, GCC nationals are no strangers to European destinations, its culture and history as well as its retail and luxury hospitality offerings. City destinations and cultural experiences spur inbound travel into Europe from the Middle East. Italy, France and the UK are holiday destinations for these travellers, which provide ample opportunities for experiences through entertainment, attractions, sightseeing and shopping. Italian ambassadors, i2travel, will be part of this prestigious event.

Speaking on their expectations for the coming year – 2020-2021, Vittorio Marsiglio, chairman and CEO, i2travel, stated: “The Middle Eastern market is doing an exceptional job at boosting the Mice sector, making it a competitive and dynamic player globally. Our company’s tailor-made approach in understanding Middle East culture with its clients expectations makes the difference on each Italian destination.”

Gearing up for the eighth annual of this two-day business event, Sidh N.C, director, QNA International, said: “2020 is a very special and exciting time for the Middle East and the global Mice market. Businesses seeking to tap into the Middle East outbound travel market should aim to impress this market segment by respecting Arabian cultural needs, aspiring to exceed expectations through providing high quality and upmarket services whilst targeting evolving market opportunities such as the ‘coming of age traveller’ seeking cultural adventures.”

Apart from the conference & one-to-one meeting format, the congress will also host the Malt Excellence Awards, the regions’ one-of-a-kind award ceremony that highlights, honours and celebrates path-breaking achievements of top organisations and individuals, who have demonstrated exemplary initiatives in the field of meetings, incentives, conferences, events (Mice), Business and Luxury Travel from the Middle East. The awards will take place on February 26, in conjunction with the Meetings Arabia & Luxury Travel Congress. - TradeArabia News Service

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