Travellers to the region, and indeed across the globe, representing all generations are increasingly looking beyond conventional leisure programmes and itineraries and are instead actively seeking out atypical trends and once-in-a-lifetime experiences and events that promise a standout trip.
And, while all generations from boomers to Gen X, Y, Z and beyond are now looking for activities and experiences, above value and discounted price, what makes this market more complex, is the individual preferences and demands of each of these generations and this ultimately, is the challenge facing marketers trying to engage with them.
In direct response, Arabian Travel Market 2020 (ATM) will hold a series of seminars on its Global Stage identifying the latest hospitality concepts as well as the most recent trends in cultural tourism to future developments in the wellness economy and responsible tourism.
Looking firstly at boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, this demographic are the least concerned about budget and instead value safety, security and service – they want to relax and generally avoid long haul trips.
Gen X travellers on the other hand, aged between 40 and 56 years, travel least out of the generations, due to corporate careers. As such they value work-life balance and prefer relaxing holidays to de-stress, around 70 per cent enjoying cultural experiences such as museums, historical sites and art galleries, according to Expedia research.
Generation Y or Millennials, who are today aged between 25 and 39, are the most talked about generation and are the undisputed champions of the frequent traveller title, technically adept and the great disrupters. More than anything, Millennials crave adventure and experiential variety and although they are careful with their budget, in gross terms it the largest submarket by revenue, generated through sheer volume.
Finally, Generation Z, those born between 1996 and 2010, aged between 10 and 24 years, are the highest spenders on activities and tours. What sets this open-minded, interactive generation apart from the others, is that 90 per cent are inspired by peers on social networks and 70 per cent are open to creative ideas. As true digital natives, they are comfortable researching, planning and booking their travel from their mobile phone and yearn for new, unique and authentic experiences.
These growing trends are now on the radar of the region’s tourism chiefs as they look to diversify their more traditional tourism propositions incorporating the preferences of each generation, as well as creating a global hub of experiences for both tourists and residents alike by hosting the world’s most spectacular megaevents, major sporting and political events, cultural festivals, concerts and Mice events.
With this in mind, ATM 2020’s spotlight theme ‘Events for Tourism Growth’ will be launched as a platform to explore the significant impact events have on the travel and hospitality industry in the region.
Events for Tourism Growth will be integrated across all show verticals and planned activities – with a host of seminar sessions discussing the impact events have on tourism growth in the region while inspiring the travel and hospitality industry about the next generation of events.
* The writer is exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
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