ME spend on international leisure travel to exceed pre-COVID levels by 10% in 2024

  • YouGov and Tourism Economics survey for ATM 2021 says 47% of total 2019 ME travel spend went on international leisure trips
  • 37% of total ME travel budget was spent on domestic leisure travel in 2019, which will be exceeded this year
  • Domestic & short-haul travel will lead the recovery

According to a recent YouGov survey, commissioned by Reed Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2021, 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. This is supported by forecast analysis carried out by Tourism Economics (TE)*.

“This is very encouraging,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, which will take place in-person at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) 16-19 May 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%,” added Curtis.

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.

“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,” said Curtis.

In addition to our international participation, a whole host of exhibitors from the Middle East will be participating at ATM this year, including the tourism boards from the UAE’s emirates with major exhibits from Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah, Ajman and Fujairah. There will also be a variety of other ME exhibitors including Emirates, Etihad Airways, Saudi Tourism Authority, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority, SAUDIA, Jordan Tourism Board, Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board, NEOM, Emaar Hospitality Group and Jumeirah International, amongst others.

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.

In particular, a host of world-class technology experts are lined up to speak at the Travel Forward Theatre, providing industry-leading insights and discussing the latest technological advances and specifically how they will determine the future direction of travel.

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.

*Tourism Economics (TE) is an Oxford Economics company with a singular objective: combine an understanding of tourism dynamics with rigorous economics in order to answer the most important questions facing destinations, developers, and strategic planners. By combining quantitative methods with industry knowledge, TE designs custom market strategies, destination recovery plans, tourism forecasting models, tourism policy analysis and economic impact studies. TE is a research partner of WTM, bringing independent research to their wide audience.

About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 28th year, continues to be the focal point for the Middle East’s resilient and ever-changing travel and tourism landscape and prides itself on being the hub of all travel and tourism ideas, providing a platform to discuss insights on the ever-changing industry, share innovations and unlock endless business opportunities. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. www.wtm.com/atm/en-gb.html #IdeasArriveHere

Next in-person event: Sunday 16 to Wednesday 19 May 2021, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Next virtual event: Monday 24 to Wednesday 26 May 2021

About Arabian Travel Week

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2021. It includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, Arival Dubai, the Travel Agents’ Academy, The ATM Influencers day, the Digital Influencer Speed Networking and Travel Forward – a new travel tech and hospitality innovation event launching this year. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as The Saudi, India and China Summits. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, Arabian Travel Week will take place in Dubai from Sunday 16th to Thursday 26th May 2021. www.wtm.com/arabian-travel-week/en-gb.html

About Reed Exhibitions Global

Reed Exhibitions is a leading global events business. It combines face-to-face with data and digital tools to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors, attracting more than 7 million participants. Our events leverage industry expertise, large data sets and technology to enable our customers to connect face-to-face or digitally and generate billions of dollars of revenues for the economic development of local markets and national economies around the world. Reed Exhibitions is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics for professional and business customers. www.reedexhibitions.com

About RELX

RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX.  The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at http://www.relx.com/investors

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents, generating more than $7.5 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. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts.

Next event: Monday 1 November to 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

http://london.wtm.com/

WTM Virtual, is the WTM Portfolio virtual platform, created to offer global delegates the chance to arrange one-to-one virtual meetings, to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking and more. WTM Virtual embrace the global leading travel shows in one platform.

WTM Latin America attracts around 19,000 participants – 11,586 unique. The trade show, which takes place in São Paulo, has a worldwide audience that meets to establish the direction of the travel industry. The event is recognised for attracting a high level of professionals from the segment, including buyers and travel agents. It also offers programmes with qualified content and plenty of opportunities for networking and generating business that is relevant to the travel industry.

Next event: Tuesday 3 to Thursday 5 August 2021 – Expo Center Norte, São Paulo http://latinamerica.wtm.com/

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 6,000 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.