Middle East’s tourism growth potential in focus at WTM London 2019

Middle East’s tourism growth potential in focus at WTM London 2019

Outstanding successes from MENA destinations, tourist boards and travel companies to be celebrated at the International Travel & Tourism Awards


With Expo 2020 on the horizon and the Middle East continuing to represent high growth potential for the travel industry, delegates from the region are heading to WTM London 2019 (4-6 November), looking to achieve an even greater share of the multi-billion-dollar international travel market.


According to research from Colliers International, the UK is predicted to retain its position as one of the top European destinations for GCC nationals to visit – accounting for 890,000 trips by 2023.

Simon Press, Senior Director, WTM London, said: “While part of this growth can be attributed to the Middle East – and in particular the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s large expatriate populations, residents from the MENA region are no strangers to destinations within the UK, their culture and history – as well as their retail and luxury hospitality offerings.

“And in addition, the relaxation of tourist visa requirements combined with Brexit weakening the British Pound have provided an additional incentive for Middle Eastern tourists.”

This year, WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, turns 40 and 50,000 participants as well as 5,000 exhibitors from over 180 countries are expected to join in the celebrations with organisers predicting a record year for 2019, boosted by a strong contingent of exhibitors from the Middle East region.


Adding to this, several Middle Eastern companies have been shortlisted for the International Travel & Tourism Awards (ITTAs) – which take place on Tuesday 5th November and recognise the outstanding successes of destinations, tourist boards, private sector companies and individuals working in the industry.


Among the 90 shortlisted nominations for the ITTAs – which are presented by WTM and supported by the UNWTO – are entries from Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, Azerbaijan Tourism Board and The Jordan Trail Association.

Press added: “Over the last decade the tourism industry in the Middle East has grown ten-fold. The developments have been incredible with the tallest buildings and tallest hotels; revolutionary transport infrastructure; theme parks and leisure attractions that are the envy of the rest of the world.

“Bearing that in mind, it should come as no surprise that five outstanding campaigns from the MENA region have been shortlisted for the upcoming ITTAs. Both the volume and quality of entries received from the region not only demonstrates the vital role tourism is playing in the economy but also reconfirms the Middle East as one of the most dynamic travel destinations in the world.”

Expo 2020, which is now just 12 months away, will be the largest event ever staged in the Arab World. Taking place from October 2020 to April 2021, 192 pavilions from countries around the world will be showcased, with over 25 million visitors – 145,000 visits for every one of the 173 days the site is open, expected.


Adding to this, the direct contribution of travel and tourism to the Middle East’s GDP is predicted to rise by 4.2% per annum to US $133.6 billion by 2028, according to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).


And, in Saudi Arabia more relaxed visas [30-day Umrah Plus Visas, eVisas and specialist visas for events] combined with Vision 2030 and tourism mega-projects such as the Red Sea Project are set to increase international visitors to the kingdom by 5.6% per annum to 2023.


John Pagano, CEO at The Red Sea Development Company, said: “Participating in World Travel Market 2019 is an opportunity to showcase the amazing beauty and diversity of the Red Sea Project and the progress we have made toward delivering a luxury destination that will set a new standard in sustainable development. The event provides a forum to explore potential collaboration with some of the world’s most renowned hospitality and tourism-focused businesses.”


Commenting on the Red Sea Development Company’s decision to sponsor the Best in Responsible Tourism Award at the ITTAs, Pagano, said: “Our decision to sponsor [this category] reflects our commitment to embedding sustainability and responsible practice throughout the design, development and, ultimately, the operation of the Red Sea Project.”


This year, key exhibitors at WTM London from the Middle East will include; Dubai Corporation for Tourism & Commerce Marketing (DTC), Abu Dhabi Department of Culture and Tourism, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Commerce & Tourism Development Authority, Oman Ministry of Tourism and Jordan Tourism Board. Other exhibitors include The Red Sea Development Company, Kuwait Airways, Orascom Development, Samaya Investment and Smart Travel Deal.


Similar to last year’s event, WTM London 2019, will place a spotlight on the Middle East with a host of key speakers lined up from the region for the show’s regionally-focused Inspiration Zones which will provide a platform to address evolving travel trends in the Middle East & North Africa as well as providing an update about Expo 2020.




About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises eight leading events across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. 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. http://london.wtm.com/.

Next event: Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 November 2019 – London #IdeasArriveHere


London Travel Week, brought to you by WTM London, is the one-stop-shop for event hosts and visitors to be able to shape the next 12 months of travel together. The festival of events support the global travel and tourism industry through capturing invaluable news and enhancing industry connections.

The inaugural London Travel Week will take place from Friday 1 November – Saturday 7 November 2019.



Travel Forward is the travel technology event co-located with WTM London and part of the WTM Portfolio of events. The second Travel Forward conference and exhibition will take place on 4–6 November 2019 at ExCeL London, showcasing next-generation technology for travel and hospitality. http://travelforward.wtm.com/.


International Travel & Tourism Awards (ITTAs), presented by WTM London, celebrate the success of national, regional and city tourist boards and recognise outstanding private sector companies and individuals. Now in their second year, the awards will showcase the best in class of the global travel & tourism industry at the new venue, Magazine London on Tuesday 5 November 2019. https://awards.wtm.com/


BorderlessLive is the brand-new festival where aspiring and established content creators, brands and the community join each other to learn, collaborate, create, inspire and be inspired. This one-of-a-kind event is open to all who have a keen interest in social media, travel, lifestyle, hospitality and the future of influencer marketing. BorderlessLive will return to London’s Tobacco Dock on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 September 2020 for a second edition. http://www.borderlesslive.com/


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. http://latinamerica.wtm.com/.

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. http://africa.wtm.com/.

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


Arabian Travel Market is the leading international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2019 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, with representation from 155 countries over the four days. ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre.

To find out more, please visit: www.arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com.

Arabian Travel Market 2020 will take place in Dubai from Sunday 19 April to Wednesday 22 April 2020.


About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face-to-face through data and digital tools at more than 500 events a year, in more than 43 countries, attracting more than seven million participants. Reed’s events are held in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.


About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism event’s organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether they are global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have more than 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.


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