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NEWS

Oman tourism arrivals to increase 5% annually to 2023: ATM report

Arrivals to Oman to increase at a CAGR of 5% fuelled by visitors from India who accounted for 21% of total arrivals in 2018.

Photo: OCEC

Tourism arrivals to Oman will increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 5% between 2018 and 2023 to 3.5 million, according to data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2019 (ATM), which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre in April.

Commissioned by ATM, the Colliers International data predicts the rise will be fuelled by visitors from India, who accounted for 21% of total international arrivals during 2018. In addition, arrivals from the UK (9%), Germany (7%), Philippines (6%) and the UAE (6%) are also expected to contribute to the growth, supported by the expansion of Muscat International airport, new and improved flight connections and new electronic and short stay visa processes.

Looking to acquire their share of these high-growth markets at ATM 2019 will be a number of exhibitors from the Sultanate, including the Oman Ministry of Tourism, Oman Air, The Chedi Muscat, Al Fawaz Tours and Al Bustan Palace – A Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “The latest data demonstrates the growth in tourism arrivals to Oman and is set to continue as we look ahead to 2023, supported by the recently opened Muscat International Airport expansion as well as strategic investment from the government as it turns to tourism to diversify its income streams away from hydrocarbon receipts.

“Despite facing significant competition from other popular regional destinations, Oman has distinguished itself as a unique tourism destination over the past few years – with a wide range of responsible, eco, cultural and heritage attractions on offer.”

While India is expected to remain Oman’s top source market over the next five years – accounting for 389,890 of tourism arrivals by 2023 – the Philippines is projected to witness the highest CAGR, at 11% compared with 3% for India.

The UK, Oman’s second largest source market, is forecast to closely follow with a CAGR of 9%, while Germany and the UAE will experience comparative growths of 7% and 2% respectively.

Reflective of this projected growth, during ATM 2018, the number of delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with Oman increased 67% compared to the 2017 edition of the show.

Curtis said: “Similar to tourism arrivals, the number of attendees who visit ATM in order to break into the Omani market is also rising. As this looks set to continue in 2019, we look forward to facilitating business opportunities that will drive the unprecedented level of development planned over the coming years.”

Accommodating the predicted influx in arrivals, the Colliers research reveals a strong pipeline of new supply expected to enter the Muscat market – with approximately 4,600 additional keys forecasted by 2022.

Supply in Muscat is dominated by the upper-midscale segment of the market, with four-star properties currently accounting for 32%, five-star properties accounting for 24% and three-star properties accounting for just 14%.

During 2019 alone, 20 new hotels are expected to open in Muscat including three new five-star hotels and three four-star hotels as well as five three-star hotels, six two-hotels and three one-star hotels as Oman’s Ministry of Tourism looks to make accommodation more affordable in order to cater to a wider market.

“At present, around 57% of the hospitality demand in Muscat is generated by corporate demand, while leisure travelers account for 32% of total demand. By the end of 2019, average occupancy is predicted to increase 5% to around 59.7%,” Curtis added.

Complementing its hotel pipeline, Muscat has made a significant investment in its airports. The new terminal at Muscat International Airport, which opened in March 2018, is expected to increase annual passenger traffic by at least 10% year-on-year – driven by growth from domestic carriers Oman Air and Salam Air as they continue to add new and direct routes.

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2018 event, showcasing the largest exhibition in the history of the show, with hotels comprising 20% of the floor area.

Building on the success of last year’s event, ATM 2019 had adopted cutting-edge technology and innovation as its main theme, and this will be integrated across all show verticals and planned activities.

NEWS

Attending ATM? Don’t miss these travel discounts

Looking for a weekend staycation, long-haul getaway or the perfect Eid break on a budget? Visit the first-ever  ATM Holiday Shopper where hundreds of exclusive travel and tourism deals will be on offer for one day only.

“Taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre on Saturday 27th April – the day before the official opening of Arabian Travel Market – travel agencies, hotels, and far-flung destinations will be offering a wide range of incredible deals to consumers attending the show,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market.

With itineraries for thousands of hotels and resorts across the world, Middle Eastern holiday website HolidayMe will be providing 20% off package holidays to the first 100 visitors to its stand. While, Holiday Factory, a leading tour operator in the UAE market, will be offering 10% off package holidays to 25 destinations across the Indian Ocean, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.

If you’re looking for a relaxing family break over Eid, visit Ras Al Khaimah’s stand and receive up to 20% off on hotel stays or a complimentary room upgrade at various properties across the emirate as well as up to 20% off on spa treatments and food and beverage during your stay.

Experience warm, welcoming and authentic Arabian hospitality with up to 35% off when booking a package holiday at one of TIME Hotels’ various properties across the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Other deals on the day will include 10% off when booking a trip to Lebanon with Nakhal; up to US$50 off per adult on all escorted tours booked through Cox and Kings plus free visa and travel insurance on European escorted tours and 10% off when making a booking with coach travel company Globus and Cosmos and an additional 5% off for repeat customers.

Consumers will also have the chance to enter into a raffle draw with the chance of winning a trip to the Czech Republic for two people – inclusive of flights and accommodation. Other prizes include two tickets to the UEFA Europa League Final in Baku, two tickets to the UEFA Nations League Final in Portugal and two tickets to a Manchester United match in the UK.

Curtis said: “The event will feature a number of talks and presentations in a relaxed environment – designed to provide travelers with in-depth knowledge on a range of travel destinations and tour packages that cover all major attractions within any one country – as well as information on visa compliance and travel insurance.”

Attendees can immerse themselves in faraway cultures with the world’s first Virtual Reality (VR) Travel experience. Ride through the streets or soar over the sights of some of the world’s most famous cities including Rome, Tokyo, the Swiss Alps, Masai Mara Kenyan Safari, Dubai, Paris and Washington DC.

Enjoy a range of family-friendly attractions throughout the day such as cultural displays, calligraphy, henna and falconry amongst many other activities.

Curtis added: “Holiday Shopper is a great addition to ATM 2019 and we look forward to welcoming consumers, offering them a range of attractive discounts and incentives as well as providing a complete overview of some of the world’s leading travel destinations to further whet the appetite!”

Brand new for this year’s show will be the launch of Arabian Travel Week, an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows including ATM 2019, ILTM Arabia, CONNECT the Middle East, India & Africa – a new route development forum and new consumer-led event ATM Holiday Shopper. Arabian Travel Week will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 27 to May 1.

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BUSINESS TRAVEL

Saudi tourism sector worth over $70 billion in 2019

New leisure and tourism facilities forecast to fuel domestic tourism at 8% per year until 2023, says new Arabian Travel Market report.

Photo: Unsplash

Saudi Arabia’s travel and tourism sector is expected to contribute $70.9 billion (SAR 263.1 billion) in total to the country’s GDP in 2019, according to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council, as exhibitors prepare to showcase what the Kingdom has to offer at this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which is being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019.

According to data from ATM’s research partner Colliers, international arrivals to Saudi Arabia are expected to increase 5.6% per year from 17.7 million in 2018 to 23.3 million in 2023. Religious tourism is expected to remain the bedrock of the sector over the next decade, with a goal of attracting 30 million pilgrims to the Kingdom by 2030, an increase of 11 million from the 19 million Hajj and Umrah pilgrims that visited the country in 2017.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “At ATM, we are witnessing this growth first hand with the total number of delegates arriving from Saudi Arabia increasing 42% between 2017 and 2018, while 33% of delegates, exhibitors and attendees were interested in doing business with the Kingdom.

“More relaxed access to visas, through online portals such as the ‘Sharek’ and the growth of the Umrah plus market – combining religious and leisure travel – are expected to be key drivers in the growth of international tourism in the Kingdom.”

Vision 2030 has set aside $64 billion to invest in culture, leisure and entertainment projects over the next decade, which will significantly add to the attractiveness of the country as a touristic destination, according to a recent report from real estate firm Savills.

The first phase of the Red Sea project, which is estimated to grow the kingdom’s GDP by US$5.86 billion (SAR22 billion) and will consist of an airport, marinas, up to 3,000 hotel rooms and various recreational activities, is expected to complete during 2022.

Additionally, last year Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund announced the development of Amaala, a new ultra-luxury tourism megaproject which is earmarked for completion in 2028. The development will add 2,500 hotel rooms – further boosting the accommodation offering for both domestic and international visitors alike.

“Saudi Arabia will see a vast expansion of its hotel and resort inventory during 2019, with over 9,000 keys of three, four and five-star international supply expected to enter the market despite major cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah experiencing an overall drop in ADR during 2018.

“While this new supply will place additional competitive pressure on hotels performance across the country, the projected growth in visitor numbers in both the domestic and international markets is expected to boost occupancy levels throughout 2019,” added Curtis.

Looking ahead to ATM 2019, Saudi exhibitors, who will highlight what the Kingdom has to offer and the exciting developments in the pipeline, include The Red Sea Development Company, Saudia – Saudi Arabian Airlines, Makarem Hotels, AlfaOne Concierge – and of course the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage who will have a major presence too.

A focused seminar titled ‘Why Tourism is Saudi’s new ‘White Oil’ will take place on the Global Stage on Monday 29th April between 14.50 – 15:50.  The session will discuss Saudi Arabia’s tourism potential as the Kingdom undergoes a period of rapid economic diversification and forges ahead with its Vision 2030 blueprint.

The upbeat tourism forecast is also being driven, by domestic tourism with the number of local tourist trips inside Saudi Arabia exceeding 47 million in 2018. The latest research from Colliers forecasts this figure to increase 8% per year to 70.5 million by 2023.

“Plans are already afoot in Saudi, to achieve the projected increase in domestic visitors, with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 blueprint forecast to double the number of UNESCO heritage sites and increase household spending on cultural and entertainment activities inside the country from 2.9% to 6%.

“Meanwhile, the Quality of Life Vision Realisation Programme (VRP) and the General Entertainment Authority are both working to create new attractions and recreational activities within the country,” added Curtis.

ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2018 event, showcasing the largest exhibition in the history of the show, with hotels comprising 20% of the floor area.

Brand new for this year’s show will be the launch of Arabian Travel Week, an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows including ATM 2019, ILTM Arabia, CONNECT the Middle East, India & Africa – a new route development forum and new consumer-led event ATM Holiday Shopper. Arabian Travel Week will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 27 April – 1 May 2019.

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NEWS

Thomas Cook India to focus on U.S. business travel

This initiative will enable the company to effectively manage the travel and related requirements of its large and expanding base of global business travelers.

Thomas Cook Micepoint
Photo: Joakim Honkasalo/Unsplash

Thomas Cook (India) has announced the commencement of its USA Operations, in a focused initiative to leverage the high potential business travel segment to and from the Americas. The company has accordingly obtained ARC (Airlines Reporting Corporation) accreditation and necessary operating licenses via its Destination Management brand, Allied TPro (through Horizon Travel Services LLC, USA).

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) projects India to be one of the fastest growing markets over the next five years, with a growth rate of 11.3%. Thomas Cook India reiterates this clear opportunity, with its internal data highlighting a 23% YoY growth in its business travel segment over the last 3 years; and U.S. travel contributing over 20% of its portfolio. Hence, in a strategic initiative to harness this significant potential and grow its corporate travel business, Thomas Cook India has commenced operations in the U.S.

Thomas Cook India’s USA initiative will enable the company to effectively manage the travel and related requirements of its large and expanding base of global business travelers with a two-pronged benefit: giving them direct access to fares and content from the US market, coupled with 24X7 solutions for their US travel and travel related services.   The Company’s USA operations will offer its travelers a range of services include, air, hospitality, and surface transportation across its business and b-leisure segments.

Indiver Rastogi, President, Global Corporate Travel at The Thomas Cook India Group, said, “We are excited with this development that also marks the beginning of our Corporate Travel operations in the US- a market that offers us significant potential across business and b-leisure segments. This new initiative will enable Thomas Cook to manage travel and related services for our growing customer portfolio of MNCs, Indian Corporate Houses, and equally, SMEs traveling to and from the U.S. We see significant growth in the business travel sector and this move heralds our foray into key opportune markets- globally.”

The Thomas Cook India Group provides integrated Travel Management and Advisory Services to more than 500 corporates, including several national, multinational companies and SMEs. The large scale and size of its operations enable the company to effectively provide process efficiencies coupled with specialization in tailor-made travel policies to suit each corporate requirement, thereby enabling savings on spending.

 

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