Middle East could be the world dominant travel hub by 2025

“Securing the Prize for the Middle East” – new report just out by Amadeus

Amadeus, the leading IT solutions provider for the tourism industry, has just launched a new report which reveals the Middle East region may be on the brink of becoming the world’s main travel hub. It makes for interesting reading particularly as the shared ownership in the region is expanding, and the destination is now one of the top winter sun getaways for British holidaymakers.

The report, called “Securing the prize for the Middle East” outlines the issues the region should focus on to assure its expansion goes according to plan. There are challenges ahead but it predicts that the number of tourists visiting the Middle east will double to 136 million in just nine year’s time (2020) compared to figures of 54 million back in 2008.

“The Middle East already connects more major global destinations via a single flight than any other hub,” said Antoine Medawar, Amadeus’s vice president for the Middle East and North Africa.

“The aim of becoming the world’s dominant travel hub by 2025 is within reach, but obstacles remain, the chief one being complacency.”

Dubai International Airport was the 11th busiest in the world in 2010 for passenger traffic and major investments are planned for travel and tourism in the region including a US $86 billion injection of funds for airports – other expansion areas will include the region’s approach to innovation and technology adoption.

Thanks to significant investment in the areas of travel, hospitality and aviation, the Middle East will be in a position to diversify its economy, with plans to expand its domestic and international tourism. Religious tourism is also a major factor – in 2009 over US $7 billion flowed in from visitors to Muslim pilgrimage sites and projections are for visitor numbers to grow from over 12 million in 2009 to 15 million in 2013.

Because Dubai airport is strategically placed for air traffic connecting from all parts of the world, it looks set to become even busier in coming years.

Mona Faraj, Managing Partner of Insights Management Consultancy, the company that carried out the report for Amadeus, added:“While the region benefits from assets such as strategic geographical location and strong GDP growth, it will still need to work hard to attract new business and leisure travellers to the region. This report sets out clear factors that need to be addressed if it is to take hold of the significant opportunities and reach its goal of becoming the dominant global travel hub.”

The report is supported by interviews with senior executives in the travel and tourism industry, including the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), Marriott and the Abu Dhabi National Corporation of Tourism and Hotels.

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