• Smart technologies reshaping regional tourism

    Ramesh Tiwari
    May 11, 2015
    Smart technologies reshaping regional tourism

    Dubai – Global Growth in mobile bookings expected to reach 35% of online travel bookings by 2018 as wearable technology takes off; opportunities in business tourism development also highlighted with Dubai 2020 the primary catalyst.

    Euromonitor International released its latest tourism Global Trends report at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) with up-to-date insight into MENA economic trends and specific emphasis on the future impact of smart technologies and opportunities for business tourism growth in the region.

    The report findings, which cover seven regions: the Americas, the UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia and India, were presented by Kinda Chebib, Senior Analyst, Euromonitor International at a packed VISA Seminar Theatre session.

    “Destination services, personalisation, mobile bookings and peer-to-peer are expected to be the main disruptive forces in the travel industry over the next five years, but what is particularly worth noting is the rise in mobile technology as a transformational channel for the tourism landscape in terms of bookings, customer service and consumer behavior,” noted Chebib.

    Looking at the Middle East specifically, Euromonitor key performance indicators (KPIs) for 2013-15 show US$ percentage growth in air transport value set to rise from 6.1% to 12%, hotel value rising from 7.4% to 9.1% and travel retail value predicted to jump from 7.1% to 9.7%.

    Incoming tourist receipts will also grow by as much as 10.9% in 2014 and 10.4% in 2015, driven by infrastructure developments, with the GCC countries the primary beneficiaries.

    The report also highlighted new areas of tourism development opportunity with the design industry a potential catalyst for growth as well as the forthcoming Dubai Expo 2020.

    Said Chebib: “The Middle East is positioning itself as a design hub, from Beirut, which has the talent and production capabilities, to Dubai, which has the financial resources to create the environment. In recent years, events such as Design Days Dubai and Beirut Design Week have attracted international design professionals and helped design a new face of the Middle East.”

    Chebib says that this is promoting a new dimension in tourism with events such as Design Days attracting 12,150 visitors in 2014, 40% of which were regional and international tourists, and showcasing a different facet to Dubai’s cultural proposition.

    “In the run-up to Expo 2020, the opportunities to develop the business tourism segment are significant, and the Euromonitor International Global Trends report provides insightful data for industry strategists looking to fine tune their offering/products as we count down to the end of the decade,” said Nadege Noblet-Segers, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market.

    ‘Business tourism currently accounts for 20% of all tourism receipts in Dubai and UAE MICE sector business generates US$653 million per year; so with the goal of doubling the number of visitors to the UAE to 20 million per annum, this is an exciting time for the industry,” she added.

    In her presentation, Chebib also looked at the mainstreaming of wearable electronics and the correlation between the growth in travel technology and upswing in online travel sales, which reached US$590 billion in 2013, or 27% of all travel sales.

    “While Asia Pacific is expected to drive global growth in online travel, with its online travel sales set to double from US$90 billion in 2013 to US$180 billion in 2018, it is a growing global trend. Mobile devices are increasingly key in the travel industry in terms of both customer service and bookings with mobile bookings are expected to reach 35% of online travel bookings by 2018,” she said.

    A number of travel companies and technology developers are already addressing the trend with Expedia releasing a traveller notification app for the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch in August 2014, and working on one for Google Glass; Starwood creating its own Google Glass app that allows bookings and provides hotel directions, as well as plans to use the Apple Watch as a room key in future; and Iberia, Vueling and Air Berlin have announced that their passengers will be able to download boarding passes directly onto their wearable devices.

    Euromonitor data predicts that wearable internet-connected devices are expected to rise from nine million units sold globally in 2013 to a forecasted 180 million in 2016 led by demand for the Apple Watch.- arabiantravelmarket.com 

    May, 2015

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      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      CityVisitors
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

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