Why Invest in the Middle East Market
Why Invest in Middle East Tourism?
The Middle East Tourism market is one of the world’s fastest-growing outbound travel market, with young well-off Arabian travellers going on long expensive trips, the ITB World Travel Trends Report Finds.
The Arabian outbound travel market is growing into a lucrative niche business as well-off travellers venture more beyond their home region and spend heavily on up-market accommodation, shopping and entertainment.
The Middle East outbound travel market was actually the world’s fastest-growing market in 2015 with a 9 percent increase in outbound trips over the first eight months of this year, according to preliminary World Travel Monitor® results from IPK International.
Besides Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the most attractive outbound market in the region and both are characterised by high spending and long trips.
There is a very high proportion of high-earners going on international trips and a high (about 50 percent) share of younger international travellers under the age of 34, according to World Travel Monitor® figures.
What is trending in the Middle East Tourism.
Health-related travel is also a notable trend with well-off Arabs often going on long trips for medical purposes, accompanied by a large number of family members. In addition, Arabian tourists often book serviced apartments, for example, where a maid does the cooking and cleaning. “There is also an interesting trend for people to visit long-haul destinations offering Islamic hospitality, such as Malaysia and Indonesia,” Ramzi Maaytah, Partner of IPK International Middle East.
Experiences are the driving force for travellers.
Do you remember every single Hotel room you stayed in from your last two holidays? If you are like me, the chances are NO. But do you remember moments from that Holiday when you did something as a Family or a Couple or with Friends? The chances are YES.
At the end of the day, it is the experiences which we remember and that is why more of these need to be offered. As the trends shift, Luxury is gradually giving way to more experience based travel.
We see some innovative experiential travel companies who are pure activity driven. They have fewer takers today, but we are sure that in the next 5 years majority of the trips sold in the market would be activity driven.
Sure, there would be days while on holidays when one wants to relax, but even among the GCC travellers there is a demand for more activities and more experiences. No longer are they be travelling just for shopping or relaxing.
So what do all these Stats tell us? That it is time for Hotels and Travel Attractions to start investing in the GCC Market. As one of our Clients put it, “this is the fastest ROI that we have seen”. With the diversity here and close to 200+ nationalities living in the region, there is a market for everyone.
Today thanks to social media there is lots of awareness of what activities and experiences people are doing everywhere and it always finds an audience and a connection with someone.
The 2nd largest pool of travellers today the Indian’s have found this via Bollywood, It started in the 1990’s when Switzerland and Mauritius became the go-to places and people wanted to do everything that they had seen in the movie.
The trend changed further when a Bollywood movie made Spain and adventure sports popular. Post the movie the Spanish embassy was overwhelmed with the number of visa’s they had to grant, with The Spanish Ambassador saying we never expected that one single Bollywood movie would turn things around for us. TOMATINA festival which was unheard of in India today is something which attracts thousands of travellers.
Since Indians are the largest Ex-Pat group in the Middle East whatever happens in India also translates down to the Middle East market.
Experience and Thrill Seekers, Adrenaline Junkies are everywhere and maybe for some reason, they choose not to book these experiences from the GCC or maybe they don’t because this market hasn’t started offering them as yet.
But this is a NICHE waiting to be explored. People here are not any different than anywhere else in the world, there are plenty of thrill seekers, maybe its time that they were made aware of this.
What works for the Middle East Tourism.
To be successful in this market you need to be physically present here and educate the market about your offerings and products. If you are willing to give this market 6 months of time when you start (ideal time is November / December to launch your Brand in this market.
if you want to gain from the Summer Holidays) and travel extensively in the region, you are sure to benefit. Remember as, in any sales activity, it takes at between 5 to 12 touch points to create a recall value.
Your product has to be designed to cater to the market and has to be easy to understand so a couple of training sessions are also advisable. This market needs immedieate response as you are competiting with OTA’s, 24 hours SLA only work if it is a customised trip and complicated.
Our Client Panorama Destination Indonesia who currently trends in the market for visit to Indonesia has changed their office timings to suit the Middle East market and work all 7 days. The result they today have a higher volume of Business than competition
With all this done you are good to go.
It doesn’t matter whether your’s is a Large Chain Hotel or a Boutique hideout, A DMC or a Tourist Attraction. If you can cater to the Traveller from the region, (We have our Onboarding session with our clients to educate you) this market would pay you many times over.