Destination weddings account for $16 billion in spend annually, but not everyone on the guestlist is happy to be travelling across the world just to see you get married
UP TO 25 per cent of marriages are destination weddings, claims a report released by GlobalData late last year.
Destination wedding tourism annual spending is estimated to account for $16 billion, says GlobalData’s report Wedding Tourism Insights: Key market trends and analysis of wedding tourism, and the revenue share of wedding tourism in the overall industry is expected to increase over the coming years.
The rise in the number of hotels, resorts, cruise line stop-offs, and flight-connectivity in these, often exotic, locations has made it easier for couples to get married at their preferred destination.
For emerging tourism areas or local economies, wedding tourism has become a main source of revenue. Moreover, the growth of online travel agencies enables couples to research and even choose their desired destination wedding packages based on their budget and number of guests arriving for the marriage.
While destination weddings may be more expensive to attend, they are often cheaper to host, with the average destination wedding costing $28,000, compared to the non-destination affair averaging $35,3291
Travel businesses need to adapt swiftly by understanding the preferences of couples seeking a destination wedding. For instance, wedding couples are more likely to book a package that offers meals at local restaurants, sightseeing tours, and souvenirs to make the most of the destination, says the report.
According to a survey conducted by American Express Middle East late last year, on average, a person in the region is expected to attend four weddings this year – be it a local or at a special wedding destination – spending $5,500 in total.
The survey involved 1,655 individuals across, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and the UAE.
Although 48 per cent consider the expenses of accepting a wedding invite, 38 per cent would not turn down an invite solely for cost-associated reasons. But the stakes are higher for destination weddings, where 60 per cent of guests would be unlikely to accept an invite due to costs, unless it's a close family member. This links back to the average spend on travelling expenses which reached $408, making it the biggest chunk of a wedding guest’s budget. Hotel stays and accommodation came next at an average of $252.
On the upside, if the happy couple choses a destination that doubles as a mini-vacation for the guests, 57 per cent are likely to show up.
THOMAS COOK ENTERS
Seeing a strong business case, travel and forex major Thomas Cook plans to enter the destination wedding space and has formed a special team to drive the new vertical that will be commercially launched a couple of months later, a senior executive told news agency PTI.
Destination wedding business in India was cash-driven until the note-ban and GST role out, a senior Thomas Cook official told PTI, adding that cash dominance was a big put-downer for them to get into this lucrative segment.
"Since the formalisation of the economy with the note-ban and GST, cash usage is almost zero now in the travel business today. What has helped the most is GST that has levelled the field for all, giving us an opportunity to enter the lucrative destination wedding space.
"Accordingly, we have put in place a dedicated team of five to test the waters and will launch a destination wedding vertical in a couple of months down the line," Thomas Cook India chief executive Mahesh Iyer told PTI.
Now in its sixth year, the Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress, hosted by QnA International is recognised as the world’s biggest B2B platform for the destination wedding industry. Held earlier this year in Dubai, along with destination partner Dubai Tourism and hotel partner Atlantis, The Palm, the event played host to 500 wedding planning experts from 60 countries.
The first-ever awards for the destination weddings industry, the DWP ACE awards made its debut at congress.
Recognising and rewarding excellence in all aspects of business practice, the global awards in its first year, rewarded the talent and expertise of those who are working tirelessly to create a truly memorable event for their clients on their special day. The DWP ACE Awards announced 25 winners across different categories aiming to bring into the forefront and give credibility to the efforts of luxurious and memorable event planners and companies.
“The destination wedding market is one of the most exciting along with demanding industries of the current times. The destinations, venues, creative partners, suppliers, designers and planners work tirelessly throughout the year making dreams come true of their clients globally. The DWP ACE Awards was curated to highlight the outstanding talents, laudable initiatives, innovation, creativity and excellence of those in the luxury wedding and destination wedding industry. We are very pleased to celebrate the brightest talent and best creativity in the globally diverse wedding industry. Amidst all the glitz and glamour, hard work must be appreciated and that was the sole aim while introducing the DWP ACE Awards,” said Ackash Jain, director of QNA International.
Apart from several regional wedding planners awards, top wedding hotel awards went to Santorini Gem, Greece; Bulgari Resort Bali, Indonesia; Umaid Bhawan Palace, India; Baha Mar, Bahamas; Chateau Rweiss, Lebanon; and Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, Seychelles.
DESTINATION WEDDINGS ARE SELFISH, SAY AMERICANS
ABOUT 37 per cent of Americans think it's selfish to expect guests to spend their money and vacation days in order to attend celebratory events in far-flung destinations, it has emerged in a survey released by Allianz Global Assistance last month.
Cost is the main reason that the majority of people (53.6 per cent) would not attend a destination wedding. Other reasons not to attend include: not knowing the couple well enough to justify cost (17.8 per cent), not knowing the couple well enough to justify taking the time off from work (11.8 per cent), not being able to take the time off (9.7 per cent) and not being interested in the destination (7.1 per cent).
Nearly half of Americans (42.4 per cent) say that the cost of travel may lead them to skip out on a destination wedding. More than a quarter (28.7 per cent) also say cost of travel affects their decision to attend, but they are willing to spend more on the weddings of friends and family, while 19.5 per cent say cost does not impact their decision and 9.4 per cent would limit their spending on the trip in order to attend.
Others limit their incurred costs by not buying gifts for destination weddings, with 66 per cent saying the couple should not expect a gift if hosting a destination wedding.
While destination weddings may be more expensive to attend, they are often cheaper to host, with the average destination wedding costing $28,000, compared to the non-destination affair averaging $35,3291.
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