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Middle East Travellers Spend to Exceed pre-COVID Levels by 2024

Traveler spending Istanbul

A new study finds out that the amount of money that Middle East travellers spend on international leisure travel, will begin to exceed 2019 pre-COVID levels, in as little as three years.

The study is based on a recent YouGov survey, commissioned by Reed Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2021.

In 2019, spending on international leisure travel in the Middle East was significant, representing 47% of the total overall travel spend, compared with 37% spent on domestic leisure travel and 8% each on international and domestic business travel.

In 2020, spending on international leisure travel was only 20% of the amount spent a year earlier. However, this year, spending compared with 2019, will recover to around 50%. It will increase to 75% in 2022 and 95% in 2023, until 2024, when spending in this segment will exceed pre-COVID levels by up to 10%.

Leisure travel will lead the recovery, initially through domestic and short-haul travel, which peaked by as much as 85% of all overnight arrivals in the Middle East during 2020. This will gradually return to normal over the next four years at around 70%, as international travel becomes more popular and takes greater market share.

According to research by TE and its parent company Oxford Economics, the vaccine rollout, pent up demand supported by high consumer savings, employment recovery and travel restrictions, will motivate the return to global economic growth of 5.6% this year, the fastest economic recovery in 40 years. The total contribution of the travel and tourism industry in 2019 accounted for 10.4% of total GDP worldwide, highlighting its importance to the global economy.

In advanced economies, household savings rates have jumped from less than 10% of income prior to 2020, to a spike of 25% during lockdown, before dropping to just over 15% as restrictions were eased.

In terms of vaccine rollout, although distribution maybe uneven and therefore inhibit some destinations from welcoming tourists, many popular leisure destinations such as the UAE, US, UK, Israel, Spain and Turkey aim to have up to 70% of their populations vaccinated before the end of 2021. Other measures will be necessary and are likely to be introduced in many destinations to facilitate travel recovery, such as more widespread testing.

Now in its 28th year and working in collaboration with DWTC and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the theme of ATM 2021 will be ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’.

A comprehensive programme of seminars will explore the inevitable road to recovery by addressing the current state of the industry, examining emerging trends and how innovation technology, sustainability and engaging with the next generation of global travellers, will drive the industry forward.

ATM 2021 will also play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week and for the first time, a new hybrid format will be in place. This means an additional virtual ATM will be organised to run the following week, which will complement the in-person event by accommodating visitors who may be unable to travel to Dubai. The inaugural ATM Virtual 2020 attracted 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries, over three days.

ATM 2021’s strategic partners include Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) as Destination Partner, Emaar Hospitality Group as Official Hotel Partner and Emirates as Official Airline Partner.

Dubai is one of the safest cities in the world to visit with a wide range of precautionary measures in place to ensure the safety of tourists at every stage and touchpoint of their travel journey, from arrival to departure. Dubai’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of hygiene and safety and its effective citywide management of the pandemic received a strong endorsement from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which gave the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.

Registrations for ATM 2021 are open. To register, go to https://www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb/enquire.html

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