Business travel expenditure in the Middle East is forecast to rise by 32 per cent this year, following a predicted 49 per cent increase during 2021, according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) published in November 2021.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME – Arabian Travel Market (ATM) said “This positive data will provide a welcome boost for business travel and tourism professionals throughout the Middle East region, as economies around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, despite the disruption caused by the outbreak of the Omicron variant.
“During 2021, the increase in business spending for the full year is expected to have actually outpaced spending on leisure travel by 13 per cent, 10 per cent and one per cent in the Middle East, Europe and Africa respectively.
“Aviation experts speaking at ATM 2021, had expected business travel to lag behind leisure travel, but this estimated increase of 32 per cent, comes on top of a predicted rise during 2021 of 49 per cent which although 2020 was a challenging year, the business travel segment is now clearly accelerating towards pre pandemic levels,” added Curtis.
In terms of business travel spending in 2021, the report ranks the Middle East region first with an increase of 49 per cent, followed by Europe and Africa (36 per cent), Asia Pacific (32 per cent) and the Americas (14 per cent). According to the report, the Asia Pacific region will lead the world in 2022 with growth in spending of 41 per cent, followed by the Americas with a 35 per cent increase, the Middle East 32 per cent, Europe on 28 per cent and Africa with a 23 per cent rise.
“Business travel will also be under the spotlight this year on the ATM Global Stage, where the world’s premier business travel and meetings trade organisation, Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), will discuss its latest business travel content and research, during two main sessions – ‘The future of business travel’ and ‘Building a sustainable business travel programme’,” said Curtis.
The WTTC report was compiled in collaboration with McKinsey & Company called ‘Adapting to Endemic COVID-19: The Outlook for Business Travel’ and draws on research, analysis and in-depth interviews with travel & tourism business leaders to enable organisations to prepare for corporate travel in the post-pandemic era.
The report concluded, ‘…our research shows room for optimism with Asia Pacific and the Middle East first off the starting blocks.’
Now in its 29th year and working in collaboration with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) – formerly the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) – ATM show highlights in 2022 will include, among others, destination summits focused on the key source markets of Saudi Arabia, Russia and India.
One new feature this year will be ATM Travel Tech. Previously called Travel Forward, the rebranded and revamped event will feature the ATM Travel Tech Stage hosting seminars, debates and presentations including pitches from finalists in the brand-new ATM Draper-Aladdin Start-up Competition.
The dedicated ARIVALDubai@ATM forum will cover current and future trends for tour operators and attractions, focusing on growing business through marketing, technology, distribution, thought leadership and executive-level connections.
ATM will once again play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week, a festival of events dedicated to enabling travel professionals from all over the world to collaborate and shape the recovery of the Middle East travel industry through exhibitions, conferences, breakfast briefings, awards, product launches and networking events.
The UAE remains one of the most COVID-secure countries on the planet, with consistently low case rates and robust measures to ensure tourists’ safety at every stage of their visit. Like its neighbouring emirates, Dubai is committed to maintaining the highest hygiene and safety standards. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has endorsed its pandemic management, awarding the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.
In line with the UAE government’s forward-thinking transition to a four-and-a-half-day, Monday-to-Friday workweek, this year’s edition of ATM will commence on Monday 9, May.
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