The success of design shows and exhibitions across the Middle East is generating domestic and international tourism demand, reveals the WTM Global Trends Report 2014, in association with Euromonitor International, released today (Monday 3 November) at World Travel Market.
Events such as Design Days Dubai and Beirut Design Week are gaining in popularity, the report reveals. The Dubai event attracted 12,150 visitors in 2014, 40% of whom were regional and international tourists, while the Beirut event welcomes 4,000 visitors, mostly local.
The report quotes Beirut Design Week Co-founders and Organisers Maya Karanouh and Doreen Toutikian: “Beirut is the true Design capital of Middle East and North Africa.”
“It has a long history of craftsmanship infused with contemporary design schools, which have helped in developing its dense ecosystem and bringing up some of today’s most established Arab designers.”
Designers from the region include Emirati interior designer Khalid Shafar and Lebanese designers Ghassan Salameh and Roula Dfouni. All have featured prominently in design publications such as Wallpaper, Elle Deco and Harper’s Bazaar.
The WTM Global Trends Report 2014 says the trend “is sparking interest among young artists, curious minds and world travellers who are keen on visiting design events despite the political situation”.
It continues: “These two events are equally important in terms of communicating their destinations under a very different light, away from the “bling bling” of Dubai and political instability of Beirut.”
Overall, the Middle East is experiencing strong tourism growth, although “growth is concentrated mostly in the Gulf countries which are safe, oil rich and a magnet for job seekers from across the globe”.
The number of trips taken to the Middle East rose by 4.4% in 2013 and the trend is set to continue in 2014 registering 6.3% growth, while in 2015 it will reach 7.0%. Incoming tourist receipts are forecast to grow by 10% in 2015.
World Travel Market, Senior Director, Simon Press said: “The emergence of ‘design tourism’ is another example of how the Middle East continues to surprise and innovate its appeal to travellers.”
Euromonitor International, Head of Travel and Tourism, Caroline Bremner added: “Incorporating high-end design will help to boost the Middle East’s appeal and find new sources of demand during uncertain times.”
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Its market-leading, business-to-business events cover all elements of travel and tourism, including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel.
RTE is part of Reed Exhibitions.