Mid-East Destination Wedding Tourism- A Key Trend Defining Region’s Hospitality Industry

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  • 5% of destination weddings take place in the Middle East with the UAE the most favoured location
  • EWAA tourism as well as solo and female-led travel also set to define hospitality industry as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond

Destination wedding tourism as well as solo and female led travel and ecotourism, wellness, adventure and agritourism (EWAA) are defining the hospitality industry landscape, according to data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2020 (ATM), which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from Sunday 19 – Wednesday 22 April 2020.

The research by Colliers International, ATM’s official research partner, revealed that the destination wedding segment is worth more than US$90 billion globally, with 25% of marriages now taking place abroad – equating to approximately 340,000 destination weddings every year.

Looking at the Middle East specifically, the regional market is worth over US$4.5 billion,attracting 5% of the global destination weddings market. The UAE is the most favoured location as a result of the emirate’s relaxed visa regulations, easy connectivity, year-round sunshine, its variety of pristine beaches and scenic mountain ranges.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Destination wedding tourism is just one of four key trends identified in the Colliers report that will define the Middle East, and indeed, the global travel and tourism market as well as consumer behavior, as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond.

“Overseas weddings are now playing a key role in the overall growth of the global hospitality industry, as more couples seek a unique as well as a personalised experience abroad. And in addition, these weddings are also positively impacting the local economies,” she added.

Ecotourism, Wellness, Adventure and Agritourism (EWAA) is another notable emerging trend, particularly among environmentally conscious consumers. According to the Colliers data, 70% of global travellers are now more likely to book accommodation that is eco-friendly, with 52% prepared to alter their behavior on holiday to become more sustainable.

Today’s travellers are more attuned to the environmental impact of tourism and are looking for destinations that provide sustainable accommodation and experiences such as glamping, a form of camping that combines the traditional components with more luxurious facilities and amenities.

“Glamping has become increasingly popular in the Middle East over recent years, mainly as a result of the region’s varied landscapes, with various glamping sites opening throughout the UAE, Oman and Jordan including Hatta Sedr Lodges, Hatta; Bedouin Oasis Camp, Ras Al Khaimah; Desert Nights Camp, Oman and Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp, Jordan.”

Other major predictions include an increase in the number of solo and female travellers. Global searches for solo travel witnessed an increase of 17.4% in 2018 compared to 2017 as the idea of travelling alone has become more socially acceptable leading to hotel and tour operators removing single supplement fees to accommodate this growing market.

The Colliers data indicates that 58% of millennials are more likely to travel alone compared with 47% of baby boomers, and interestingly, 74% of lone travellers are in fact females with social media, particularly Instagram and Pinterest the main sources for travel inspiration for these unaccompanied trips.

Curtis added: “Women control approximately 40% of global wealth, a factor that has greatly contributed to more woman opting to take solo trips in recent years. Seeking time for themselves, solo female travellers tend to select their location based on adventure, culture, relaxation and gastronomy as well as visiting destinations as part of voluntary programmes or to learn new skills.”

These dynamic trends shaping the Middle East’s hospitality industry will be explored in greater detail during ATM 2020, with a host of seminar sessions discussing the impact these emerging trends will have on tourism growth in the region.

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed almost 40,000 people to its 2019 event with representation from 150 countries. With over 100 exhibitors making their debut, ATM 2019 showcased the largest ever exhibition from Asia.Looking ahead, ATM will adopt Events for Tourism Growth as the official show theme for the 2020 edition of the show.

About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)

Arabian Travel Market is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East – introducing both inbound and outbound tourism professionals to over

2,500 of the most breathtaking destinations, attractions and brands as well as the very latest cutting-edge technologies. Attracting almost 40,000 industry professionals, with representation from 150 countries, ATM 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 over the four days.  New to ATM 2020 will be Travel Forward, a high-end travel and hospitality innovation event, dedicated conference summits and ATM buyer forums for key source markets India, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China as well as the inaugural Responsible Tourism Awards.

ATM 2020 will take place from Sunday 19th April – Wednesday 22nd April 2020 #IdeasArriveHere

About Arabian Travel Week

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2020 including ILTM Arabia, the inaugural Responsible Tourism Awards and Travel Forward – a new travel tech and hospitality innovation event launching this year – as well as ATM Buyer Forums and ATM Speed Networking Events for key source markets India, Saudi Arabia, Russia and China. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector – under one roof over the course of one week – Arabian Travel Week will be returning to Dubai World Trade Centre from Sunday 19th April – Thursday 23rd April 2020.

About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises four leading B2B events across four continents, generating more than $7 billion of industry deals. In addition to ATM, 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 in travel industry contracts.

Event was held Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 November 2019 in London #IdeasArriveHere

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.

Next event: Tuesday 31 March to Thursday 2 April 2020 – 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.

Next event: Monday 6 to Wednesday 8 April 2020 – Cape Town.

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