ME Tourism to ben­e­fit at WTM London

TravTalk - Middle East - - INTERVIEW -

With Expo 2020 on the hori­zon and a suc­cess­ful push to di­ver­sify economies away from a re­liance on hy­dro­car­bon re­ceipts, con­fi­dent travel pro­fes­sion­als from the Mid­dle East are head­ing to WTM London this Novem­ber, to achieve a greater share of the multi­bil­lion dol­lar in­ter­na­tional mar­ket.

Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the United Na­tion’s World Tourism Or­gan­i­sa­tion, UK tourists con­tin­ued to flock to the UAE in 2016 – up five per cent in Dubai and three per cent in Abu Dhabi, de­spite the pound shed­ding over 16 per cent of its value against the US Dol­lar since the ref­er­en­dum re­sult to leave the Euro­pean Union. There was also a de­fin­i­tive resur­gence in Rus­sian vis­i­tors (+14%) af­ter the UAE’s im­ple­men­ta­tion of Visa-on-Ar­rival. Oman wit­nessed steady growth in vis­i­tors from Europe, with Bri­tain and Ger­many among the top five tourism gen­er­at­ing source mar­kets. GCC na­tion­als topped the num­ber of tourist ar­rivals, fol­lowed by tourists from In­dia, Bri­tain and Ger­many. Key ex­hibitors from the re­gion this year in­clude: Dubai Cor­po­ra­tion for Tourism and Com­merce Mar­ket­ing (DTCM), Abu Dhabi Tourism & Cul­ture Au­thor­ity, Shar­jah Com­merce & Tourism De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity, Saudi Com­mis­sion for Tourism and Na­tional Her­itage, Aj­man Tourism De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity, Oman Min­istry of Tourism and Jor­dan Tourism Board. Other new ex­hibitors from the re­gion in­clude: So­lar Em­pire Travel, Azar Gasht Ase­man, Bagh­dad Ho­tel Com­pany and Kur­dis­tan Tourism.

Si­mon Press, Se­nior Di­rec­tor, WTM London, said, “Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the World Travel and Tourism Coun­cil, the to­tal con­tri­bu­tion of Travel & Tourism to GDP in the Mid­dle East was $227.1 bil­lion (9.1 per cent of GDP) in 2016, and is fore­cast to rise by 5.2 per cent in 2017, and by 4.8 per cent p.a. to $381.9 bil­lion (9.7 per cent of GDP) in 2027.There are ex­cit­ing times ahead for the Mid­dle East, not least with the UAE set to host Expo 2020, with Dubai alone fore­cast­ing 160,000 ho­tel rooms in the emi­rate ahead of the world show­case open­ing. There­fore, it comes as no sur­prise to see the large num­ber of ex­hibitors al­ready signed up for WTM London. It’s a re­flec­tion of the bur­geon­ing growth in that part of the world and how the travel trade there recog­nises that WTM London is an im­por­tant plat­form to both con­duct busi­ness and boost aware­ness. With 2017 be­ing the UN’s In­ter­na­tional Year of Sus­tain­able Tourism for De­vel­op­ment, it is fit­ting that this year WTM London plays host to more re­spon­si­ble tourism ses­sions than ever be­fore, with al­most 30 pan­els tak­ing place across the three days. Over­tourism will also look at other top­ics cur­rently get­ting a lot of at­ten­tion, such as what the in­dus­try can do to fight plas­tic pol­lu­tion and pro­tect its oceans; how it can fight traf­fick­ing in its sup­ply chain; and an­i­mal wel­fare.”

More than 80 con­fer­ence sem­i­nars will take place through­out the three days cov­er­ing all the key sec­tors per­ti­nent to the Mid­dle East, in­clud­ing avi­a­tion, ho­tels, wed­ding and hon­ey­moon, gas­tron­omy, sports tourism, re­spon­si­ble tourism, dig­i­tal in­flu­encers, so­cial me­dia and travel tech­nol­ogy. Among other highlights is the 300-seater WTM In­spire The­atre, a taste of ILTM joined by a new Wellness & Spa sec­tion on the ex­hi­bi­tion floor, the WTM Speed Net­work­ing, and the UNWTO & WTM Min­is­ters’ Sum­mit. The 2017 edi­tion of World Travel Mar­ket London’s sis­ter show, Ara­bian Travel Mar­ket (ATM), wit­nessed a 10 per cent in­crease in vis­i­tors from the GCC and a 7 per cent in­crease in in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors to the event. For the sec­ond year in a row, more than 28,000 vis­i­tors at­tended the show, a 71 per cent in­crease over the last five years. The next edi­tion of ATM takes place from April 22-25, 2018, at the Dubai In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion and Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre (DICEC).

It’s a re­flec­tion of the bur­geon­ing growth in that part of the world and how the travel trade there recog­nises that WTM London is an im­por­tant plat­form to both con­duct busi­ness and boost aware­ness

Si­mon Press Se­nior Di­rec­tor WTM London

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