infoTECH Feature

December 05, 2018

Trends that impact the travel industry in the Middle East

Global megatrends have affected the Middle East tourism industry, and they continue to shape the future of the GCC countries. With this, the rise of technology has already started to play an essential role in the development of the travel industry in the Middle East. The most basic example we can look at in this case is that young travelers prefer booking online tours than dealing with traditional travel agencies. In the Middle East, Dubai is one of the biggest attractions for the masses, and the travelers continue to use the services of online travel sites for Dubai Tours. This is because the online world is open to customization and gives the travelers the liberty to book their tours without too many restrictions.

Apart from this, there are many positive things to talk about the recent trends in the travel industry in the Middle East, along with a few negative points that should be highlighted.

1.    Global Economic Power shift

With the world appreciating the developments in many GCC countries, it is evident that the Middle East is at the center of the fastest growing markets in the world, along with India and China. Specific cities like Dubai have made the place a hub for tourism, logistics, and even aviation. Talk about the Dubai International Airport, and you’ll know that the airport is a key link that connects the economies of the West and the East. This helps the city and the UAE, as a whole, to open itself to mass markets, develop large-scale tourism projects, cut down of corporate travel budget and consumer behavior of the young traveler.

People often point out that Dubai is not affordable and this point backfires when it comes to Dubai tourism. However, there are travel packages and plans that can make the travel of the millennial traveler accessible, without cutting down on the luxuries.

2.    Accelerated (News - Alert) urbanization

The Middle East has seen rapid developments and every country in the Middle East has made the most of the 'tourism' card that allows them to accelerate urbanization. Urbanization continues to rise to cope with the demand of the masses. The focus has been on making urban spaces, especially luxuries hotels and tourist spots. The opportunities are huge, and many projects under construction in the Middle East are a sign that every country in the Middle East wants to capitalize on the changes that can help them grow revenue and get recognition in the world. With this, the priority is to attract urban tourists and create a targeted destination for the traveler.

When we talk about urban tourism, it’s important to know that the dynamic development of tourism is dependent on technological growth, economic growth, and increased air connectivity. Along with it, tourism offerings may vary from country to country and from place to place. For instance, some countries in the Middle East focus on leisure and wellness to attract tourists, while some offer retail and cultural upgrades. UAE, for quite some time, has invested in theme parks to invite the masses to visit the country. 

3.    Climate and resource scarcity

While some efforts have forced in this direction, resource scarcity and climate continue to be a pressing issue for the countries in the Middle East. For instance, water is an issue for many GCC countries, and the reliance has been on forecasts that are positive but still do not guarantee results. Club climate conditions with the water scarcity issue, one would know that it is a good enough excuse for many tourists to skip the Middle East, especially during the summer.

Various measures have been implemented to improve climate conditions and resource scarcity, but a lot more is to be done. Critical control measures need to be implemented with clear targets and mitigation strategies.

4.    Technological breakthroughs

Over the past few years, Middle East has established itself on the basis of various technological advancements that have been a reason for the masses to visit the Middle East and take along memories with them back home. There is still a lot more the Middle East tourism industry can do to benefit from the technological breakthroughs. We know that smartphone penetration in the GCC has been the highest in the world. However, there’s a lot more the tourism industry in the Middle industry can juice up and enjoy the benefits of the same. This will help in influencing travel decisions.

Here, we can talk about Emmar Hospitality in Dubai that introduced in-room iPads for guests to book dinner and control their environment. The use of an iPad for such actions helps in increasing the in-room spending and attracts the customer with flash promotions that could be beneficial to the guests. They were one of the first to introduce this, and it had inspired many others across the world to follow the practice.

Various trends have had its impact on the travel and tourism industry in the Middle East, and it continues to motivate the industry for good.


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