Middle East outbound travel market pegged at $20 bn by 2030

Dubai, Nov 12 (PTI) European and Asian tourist destinations are eyeing a larger share of outbound travel from the Gulf region, which could top USD 20 billion within the next 20 years, organisers of an industry event have said, quoting World Tourism Organisation (WTO) figures.
The WTO reckons that an additional two million Arabs will travel abroad within the next twenty years, taking the total number of outbound tourists to 37 million, who will spend an estimated USD 20 billion and account for 2.2 per cent of global outbound travel, a rise of 0.7 per cent from their current share.
“The region is not only one of the fastest growing inbound markets, but for some, more crucially, it is one of the fastest growing outbound markets. We have received bookings from all five continents of the world reconfirming the importance of this region”s outbound tourism potential,” said Mark Walsh, the Group Exhibition Director of Reed Travel Exhibitions.
Reed Travel Exhibitions is the organiser of the Arabian Travel Market 2011 fair in Dubai from April 30 to May 3, 2012.
The 2011 edition of the leading travel exhibition in the Middle East accommodated 2,236 exhibitors and spanned over 20,000 square metres, attracting more than 22,000 visitors.
“Those numbers may seem modest, but it is a case of quality, not quantity, with travelers from this region,” Walsh said.
According to the WTO, the average tourist from the UAE spends USD 22,000 a year on flights and accommodation alone, adding up to USD 6.6 billion annually on outbound travel.
“Saudi Arabia”s market is worth an estimated USD 4.8 billion,” Walsh said.
“We have found that many independent leisure travellers now prefer to carry out their own internet research at home.
Therefore the show is now dedicated to travel industry professionals,” said Walsh.