THE long-awaited shakeout isn’t here yet, but the region’s travel and tourism market has doubtless begun to mature.
Finally, developers and brand leaders are finally seeing the value of going beyond the gold plating to newer markets.
The four-star hotels – tweaked for a Middle Eastern market – are already here, and the economy brands are following suit. Significantly, the 80 new hotels rolling out across the Gulf over the next few years isn’t much at the luxury end of the market (though there’s the odd Armani), but in the budget categories: Accor with new Ibis and Novotel hotels, the Rotana’s Centro in the inner cities, and the InterCon’s new brand, Express by Holiday Inn.
The airlines are following suit: Jazeera Airways is up and away, Air Arabia is going from strength to strength and we’ll soon see a budget airline out of Saudi Arabia. Not everyone wants to be Emirates anymore and the results of this awareness are visible in increased brand differentiation. From no-alcohol hotels to small, regional-focused airlines, we’ll be seeing less me-too economics, and more collaboration. This year will see the launch of Arabesk, an alliance of eight Middle Eastern and North African airlines.
With 68.5 million arrivals across the Middle East in 2020 (WTO figures) we’d better get our act together quick.
Keith J Fernandez
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.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.