- 3 million EU residents will travel to the GCC in 2023, an additional 1.9 million travellers when compared with 2018
- The number of ATM delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with Europe increased 24% between 2017 and 2018
Arrivals from Europe to the GCC will increase 29% over the period 2018 to 2023, driven by new and direct flight routes, a growing number of millennial and middle-class travellers and competitive air fares, according to the latest data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2019, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019.
According to ATM’s research partner, Colliers International, as many as 8.3 million EU residents will travel to the GCC in 2023, an additional 1.9 million travellers when compared to 2018 arrival figures.
Adding to this, figures from ATM 2018 show the number of delegates arriving from Europe increased 5% between 2017 and 2018, while the number of delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with Europe increased by 24%.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Historically, Europe and the GCC have enjoyed excellent travel and tourism links and this trend is set to continue over the next four years.
“The UAE and Saudi Arabia are expected to continue to be the preferred GCC destinations for European tourists, welcoming a projected 6.15 million and 1.11 million visitors respectively by 2023. Oman will follow with 720,000 visitors, while Bahrain will welcome 310,000 and Kuwait 140,000.”
Driving this demand in the UAE throughout 2018, Emirates introduced new flights to London Stansted, Edinburgh, Lyon and Paris; Etihad to Barcelona; flydubai to Catania, Thessaloniki, Krakow, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Helsinki; and Air Arabia to Prague. While in Saudi Arabia, new routes to destinations including Vienna and Malaga were added during the same period.
Looking at the outbound market potential, GCC travel to EU countries is expected to grow by 50%, with 6 million GCC residents projected to visit Europe by 2023. The Colliers data indicates that Saudi Arabia will lead this growth with 2.98 million KSA residents travelling to Europe in 2023, followed by 1.73 million UAE residents, 600,000 Kuwaitis, 340,000 Bahrainis and 210,000 Omanis.
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.
Curtis said: “Saudi Arabia is predicted to retain its position as the largest outbound travel market destination in the GCC, with an additional 1.2 million trips forecasted per year by 2023 – a 70% growth on 2018 trips. Driving this growth will be the rising spending power of both millennials and females in the Kingdom.”
According to the Colliers research, the UK, France, Switzerland and Sweden will be the top European destinations for GCC nationals to visit, with the UK expected to account for 890,000 trips by 2023.
“In the UK, Brexit has weakened the British Pound providing an additional incentive for Gulf tourists, while the relaxation of tourist visa requirements and GCC residents’ growing interest in medical tourism is encouraging travel to countries such as Switzerland and Sweden,” Curtis added.
ATM 2019 will welcome more than 100 European exhibitors to the show, with names such as Armani Hotel Milano, the German National Tourism Board, Port Aventura World, the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia and the Austrian National Tourism Office as well as various new exhibitors including Belarus National Tourism Agency, Moscow Committee for Tourism and Montenegro National Tourism Organisation.
Considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, ATM welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2018 event, showcasing the largest exhibition in the history of the show, with hotels comprising 20% of the floor area.
Brand new for this year’s show will be the launch of Arabian Travel Week, an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows including ATM 2019, ILTM Arabia, CONNECT Middle East, India & Africa – a new route development forum and new consumer-led event ATM Holiday Shopper. Arabian Travel Week will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 27 April – 1 May 2019.
About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)
Arabian Travel Market is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2018 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, with representation from 141 countries over the four days. The 25th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market 2019 will take place in Dubai from Sunday, 28th April to Wednesday, 1st May 2019. To find out more, please visit: www.arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com.
About Arabian Travel Week
Arabian Travel Week is an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows including Arabian Travel Market and ILTM Arabia as well as CONNECT Middle East, India and Africa – a new route development forum launching this year and ATM’s first ever consumer event – ATM Holiday Shopper. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector – under one roof over the course of one week – the inaugural Arabian Travel Week will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from Saturday 27th April – Wednesday 1st May 2019. For more information visit: arabiantravelweek.com
CONNECT Route Development Forum delivers a total networking experience, bringing together airports, airlines and aviation suppliers in a format that offers formal one-to-one pre-arranged meetings, engaging industry seminars together with social opportunities to cement relationships with existing clients and engage with new ones. Created and organised by The Airport Agency-France, CONNECT is now in its 16th year and set to attract over 650 participants in June 2019 at its flagship event taking place in Cagliari, Sardinia. For more information, visit: www.connect-aviation.com
The inaugural CONNECT Middle East, India & Africa event will be the first and only networking forum in the Middle East. Ideally located in Dubai to address the booming aviation market of the Middle East, it will bring together the aviation and the tourism industry which are the backbone and catalyst to economic development. For more information, visit: www.connect-aviation.com/2019-meia/
About ATM Holiday Shopper
ATM Holiday Shopper is the brand-new travel event for consumers offering the very best travel and tourism discounts and deals plus the chance to learn about a range of emerging and unexplored destinations and activities from destinations around the world. The inaugural event will take place in Hall 1 of the Dubai World Trade Centre on Saturday, 27th April 2019 from 12:00 – 20:00. For more information, visit: www.atmholidayshopper.com
About ILTM Arabia
International Luxury Travel Market Arabia is an exclusive event for those looking to attract HNW travellers from the Middle East to their destination. Returning for its third year, ILTM will allow international luxury suppliers and key luxury buyers to connect via one-to-one pre-scheduled appointments and networking opportunities. ILTM will take place on Sunday 28th April and Monday 29th April 2019. For more information, visit: www.iltm.com/arabia/
About Reed Exhibitions
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face to face through data and digital tools at over 500 events a year, in more than 30 countries, attracting more than seven million participants.
About Reed Travel Exhibitions
Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether it is global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have over 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.
About World Travel Market
World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises six leading B2B events across four continents, generating more than $7 billion of industry deals. The events are:
WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. About 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating about £3.4 billion of travel industry contracts. http://london.wtm.com/. Next event: 4-6 November 2019 – London.
Travel Forward is a new travel technology event co-located with WTM London 2018 and part of the WTM portfolio of events. The inaugural Travel Forward conference, exhibition and buyer programme will take place on 4–6 November 2019 at ExCeL London, showcasing next-generation technology for travel and hospitality. http://travelforward.wtm.com/.
WTM Latin America attracts about 9,000 senior executives and generates about US$374 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 8,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. http://latinamerica.wtm.com/. Next event: 2-4 April 2019 – Sao Paulo.
WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. http://africa.wtm.com/.
Next event: 10-12 April 2019 – Cape Town.