Designers Helping to Change Middle East Perceptions

Designers Helping to Change Middle East Perceptions

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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About World Travel Market

World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend four-day business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry.

More than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press, embark on ExCeL – London every November to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry opinion and trends at WTM.

03WTM, now in its 35th year, is the event where the travel industry conducts and concludes its deals.

WTM 2013 generated more than £2 billion of travel industry contracts, revealed independent research by Fusion Communications.

WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organiser Reed Exhibitions (RE), which organises a other portfolio’s of travel industry events including IBTM Events, the world’s leading showcases for the meetings and events industry and International Luxury Travel Market events.

In 2013, RE held more than 500 events in 40 countries bringing together more than six million people from around the world generating billions of dollars in business.

Reed Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE) is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 21 international events in 14 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa.

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.