MENA region in focus at WTM London
New Inspiration Zone to provide key regional speakers with the platform to address evolving travel trends in the Middle East & North Africa as well as an update about Expo 2020’s sustainability plans
The Voice of Chandigarh News | Travel Trade Reporter
With Expo 2020 on the horizon and the Middle East representing high growth potential for the travel industry, WTM London 2018 which takes place on 5-7 November and is placing a spotlight on the region with a host of key speakers lined up for the show’s new regionally-focused Inspiration Zones.
As Dubai gears up for Expo 2020, one of the first sessions in Middle East & North Africa Zone, ‘Expo 2020 Taking Responsibility for Environmental Impacts – Water and Energy’ will take place Monday 5th November, with Gillian Hamburger, Senior Vice President of Commercial, Expo 2020 Dubai, leading the discussion.
Aspiring to create the most sustainable Expo in history, this session will explore the efforts being taken by Dubai to leave a legacy of cutting-edge sustainability practices that will inspire generations to come.
Simon Press, Senior Director, WTM London, said: “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.
“With visitor arrivals predicted to reach 25 million annually by 2025 and the opening ceremony of Dubai Expo 2020 now just two years away, the Middle East is set to continue to be one of the most dynamic travel destinations in the world.”
Indeed, according to figures from the UN’s World Tourism Organisation, the number of international tourists to the Middle East is also rising steadily, receiving 58.1 million tourists in 2017, an increase of 5% over the previous 12 months.
Other sessions at WTM London include exploring the trillion-dollar Muslim lifestyle and food industry, panel discussion – ‘How are mainstream travel companies and destinations attempting to take advantage of the rise of Halal Travel?’ will take place on Tuesday 6th November in the Middle East & North Africa zone.
During the session panellists will discuss the development of an industry that is growing at such a rate that it should no longer be deemed a niche, while exploring the ways in which travel companies and destinations are adapting how they do business to cater to Muslim travellers.
Meanwhile, as the Middle East and Africa’s travel and tourism industry continues to evolve, Lea Meyer, an analyst for Euromonitor International’s Middle East & Africa team will provide an insight into the current state of the industry in the region, while highlighting how regional and global trends are expected to shape travel demand and supply as we look to the future.
Press said: “We are always striving to make the event more relevant and beneficial for our exhibitors and participants. A regional centre point in the form of hubs will allow each region to debate its specific opportunities and challenges in all sectors. Furthermore, the inspiration zones will be used for specific regionally-focused networking sessions.”
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, Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Ajman Tourism Development Department, Oman Ministry of Tourism and Jordan Tourism Board. Other exhibitors include Saudia Airline, QE2 Shipping LLC and Al-Muhaidb Group of Hotel Apartments & Grand Plaza Hotels.
WTM London (5-7 November), the leading global event for the travel industry, witnessed more than 50,000 participants in 2017, including 10,500 buyers conducting business worth over US$4.02 billion. And organisers are predicting a record year for 2018, boosted by a strong contingent of exhibitors from the Middle East region.
This year, WTM London will add seven regionally-focused Inspiration Zones to the show – UK & Ireland, Europe & Mediterranean, Middle East & North Africa, Asia, International and Africa – to make the event more focused on specific destinations.
Further changes to this year’s show will see the WTM Global Stage become an Amphitheatre, holding 400 delegates. It will continue to host the main session at the event including the WTM & UNWTO Ministers’ Summit.