Regional tourism at double pace

Mideast will see a 11.9% rise in visitor flow in the next 10 years

Tourism in the Middle East is expected to rise at a much faster rate than the global average, a recent study has revealed.

Travel technology provider Amadeus in its latest study said that while the global travel sector is set to register a rise in visitor flow by 5.4 per cent per annum over the next 10 years, the Middle East will see a 11.9 per cent rise.

The report titled 'Shaping the Future of Travel – Macro trends driving industry growth over the next decade' also forecasts a 7.6 per cent growth in outbound travel spend for the Middle East and Africa over the next 10 years, far ahead of Europe and the Americas. Across Asia it is, however, substantially higher at 17.9 per cent.

According to Antoine Medawar, Vice-President, Mena, at Amedeus, growth in the Gulf will be fuelled by the robust growth of the airline industry in the region.

"These statements may not come as a surprise to many but it is the relative scale of growth that is so impressive. Point-to-point traffic may be growing, but at the same time, airports are competing to be regional hubs. Hub airports in the Middle East have profited from their strategic location between Asia, Africa, and Europe in attracting long-haul transfer passengers, with Dubai airport leading the pack and bold leadership to invest in airport infrastructure and fleets," added Medawar.

As Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director, Cruise Tourism at the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, pointed out the attractions for tourists visiting the region and especially the UAE and Dubai have increased significantly over the years.

“Earlier we had many cruise vessels planning for very short stays in Dubai. It started off with a six-hour halt, however, now it has increased to two days. Even two days is not sufficient to cover Dubai, let alone the whole of UAE,” he said.

“We have about half a million visitors to Dubai coming on cruise alone,” he added.

Ehsan Sarabadani of Sadaf Seru, a travel agency in Dubai, says UAE’s growth in numbers is not just because of Emirates and Etihad but due to significant investments into the sector. “Dubai Marina, JBR, and The World islands have all added to the attractions. Abu Dhabi too increased its portfolio,” he added.

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