Travel professionals from the Middle East are heading to WTM London in November, in confident mood as they look to achieve a greater share of the multi-billion-dollar international travel market.
WTM London (6-8 November) witnessed more than 51,000 participants in 2016, including 9,900 buyers conducting business worth over US$3.77 billion. Organisers are predicting a record year for 2017, boosted by a strong contingent of exhibitors from the Middle East region.
WTM London, Senior Director, Simon Press, said: “According to figures from the World Travel and Tourism Council, the total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP in the Middle East was US$227.1 billion (9.1% of GDP) in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 5.2% in 2017, and by 4.8% pa to US$381.9 billion (9.7% 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.”
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 and Oman Ministry of Tourism and Jordan Tourism Board.
According to figures from the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, UK tourists continued to flock to the UAE in 2016 – up 5% in Dubai and 3% in Abu Dhabi, despite the pound shedding over 16% 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 visas-on-arrival.
While Oman saw 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.