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Outbound Tourism Spending from the Gulf is Six Times the Global Average

MD Staff

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A new report from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the European Travel Commission (ETC) shows that outbound tourism from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – comprising six countries of the Arabian peninsula – has grown strongly in recent years, with international tourism expenditure surpassing USD 60 billion in 2017.

‘The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Outbound Travel Market’, a new report prepared by UNWTO and ETC with the support of Value Retail, examines the fast-growing outbound market of the GCC countries – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates – with an additional focus on the image of Europe as a tourism destination. It finds that per-capita international tourism spending from the GCC was 6.5 times higher than the global average in 2017, with expenditure estimated to be more than USD 60 billion in 2017, up from USD 40 billion in 2010.

“GCC countries constitute a fast-growing market with the potential to make a significant contribution to European tourism, diversifying demand and promoting new tourism segments”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili upon launching the report.

“The GCC nations remain a growing source market for European destinations, which should themselves capitalize on the potential of a younger, value-driven, well-informed and technology-savvy GCC traveller”, added ETC President Peter de Wilde.

Amongst its key findings, the report states that outbound travel from GCC countries to European destinations has benefited from the unprecedented growth in air travel during the past decade, with Gulf carriers becoming major players in long-haul aviation. Air connectivity between Europe and the GCC has seen exponential growth, providing easy access to travel between the two regions.

It notes that GCC travellers are mostly young and family-oriented, with large disposable incomes, and looking for high-quality accommodation, food and retail services. They value Europe’s variety of attractions and landscapes, developed infrastructure and common visa and currency systems, which make multi-destination travel easier. Europe is seen as offering diversity in experiences as well as opportunities to shop for luxury and designer fashion. Barriers to booking a trip to Europe include safety and security concerns, the language barrier and the high cost of holidays.

The report concludes with specific recommendations on how to position and market Europe to GCC tourists. It finds that destinations should focus on promoting specific tourism products and develop pan-European themes to attract tourists looking to visit multiple destinations.

The launch of the study will be supported by a webinar providing an overview of prospects in the GCC outbound travel market, insights into the profile and behaviour of GCC travellers, and appropriate targeted marketing strategies and messages for GCC consumers.

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Tourism

Snow and Mountain Tourism: The Links between Tourism, Sustainability and Innovation

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The 11th edition of the World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism will take place on 11-13 March 2020 in Andorra, under the theme “Tourism, Innovation and Sustainability”. The Congress is organized by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Government of Andorra and the Parish of Canillo.

Within the framework of the Year of Tourism and Rural Development that the UNWTO is celebrating in 2020, the Congress will focus on the role of mountain tourism in rural development, mainly addressing the issues of innovation, sustainability and digital transformation.

UNWTO Executive Director Manuel Butler highlighted the timeliness of the theme of the 11th Congress: “Sustainability is essential for tourism to be compatible with the fragile environment of mountain areas, while providing benefits and opportunities to communities, which gives a key role to innovation to harmonize these objectives.”

For her part, Andorra’s Minister of Tourism, Verònica Canals, underlined: “The integration of new technologies and the contribution to sustainable development are two key aspects for the tourism sector. Therefore, this year, the Congress will try to share the perspectives of professionals regarding these challenges and will allow us to know the different models that companies and entities from around the world are creating.”

Development and sustainability

Through its high-level panels, keynote speeches and thematic sessions, the Congress will explore innovative solutions for sustainable tourism, sustainable consumption, local resources and products, inclusive tourism, and the development of responsible destinations.

The event will bring together a wide range of tourism professionals and experts from more than 10 countries (Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, United States).

Presiding over the inauguration of the 11th World Congress on Snow and Mountain Tourism will be Xavier Espot Zamora, Head of Government of Andorra, Zurab Pololikashvili, Secretary-General of the UNWTO, and Francesc Camp Torres, Mayor of Canillo.

The Congress was born as an initiative of the World Tourism Organization, the Government of Andorra and the seven parishes that make up Andorra. Held every two years and organized by the parishes on a rotating basis, the Congress has established itself as an enduring forum for discussion of the development and sustainability of tourism in mountain areas.

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2nd Gastronomy Tourism Start-Up Competition

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After the success of the first edition, the competition has returned to identify and celebrate disruptive ideas and innovators who will lead the transformation of the sector as well as those who are making a positive impact in their local communities.

In 2019, over 300 initiatives from 84 countries were submitted. Projects ranged from new technologies, community-based tourism development initiatives, innovation software and startups focused on innovation-driven agricultural sustainability. All of them help contribute to the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

For this second edition and with the support of the TUI Care Foundation, there will be two prizes. The first category will identify the initiative that is both innovative and has a sustainable social impact. The winning project will receive expert support from Basque Culinary Center (the Culinary Action! initiative) and from UNWTO. The project will be showcased at the 6th UNWTO World Forum on Gastronomy. As well as receiving help in creating a work plan for the design or implementation of a pilot project, the winner will also have access to the Culinary Action! network, which offers mentoring, monitoring and the opportunity to scale-up the project using the latest digital tools available.

The other category will recognize the most disruptive gastronomy tourism startup overall. The winning company will design a pilot project alongside Basque Culinary Center and implement it with the help of its network. It will also receive economic support to cover the expenses of the acceleration process with Culinary Action!, as well as accommodation and travel, for up to 3.000 euros.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili said: “With this competition we are identifying key companies which will shape the future for food and travel. Gastronomy continues to prove its potential as a vital opportunity to enrich the tourism offer and stimulate economic development in destinations all around the world, especially in rural communities, with the potential to scale on a global level.”

Competition co-founder, Basque Culinary Center Director Joxe Mari Aizega added: “This competition allows us to identify and support entrepreneurial talent in gastronomy. There are entrepreneurs in different parts of the world who are promoting new initiatives that take advantage of the potential of gastronomy and tourism. Likewise, it allows us to provide training and to offer tools to help entrepreneurs to develop projects with the potential to transform and have a positive impact on both companies and destinations, promoting gastronomic tourism as a tool to guarantee the sustainability of the destination.”

The call for proposals for the and UNWTO and Basque Culinary Center’s Global Gastronomy Tourism Startup Competition has been launched worldwide and will close on 6 April. The finalists of the Startups category and the winners of the Social Innovation Category will be announced on 4 May 2020.

The Startups category winner winning startup will be announced between 1 and 3 June, during the 6th Edition World Forum on Gastronomy Tourism to be held in Flanders, Belgium.

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Tourism and Cinema for the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals

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Year after year, destinations are receiving more and more travellers whose motivation is to visit locations where famous series or movies were filmed. Culture is an essential vector for tourism and cinema can serve as a mirror of the culture of a given community. It is against this backdrop that the Conference on Tourism and the Audiovisual Industry will be held (1-2 May 2020, Riviera Maya, Mexico).

What can tourism learn from the knowledge, proposals and contributions of the most important representatives of the audiovisual sector of Ibero-America? How can conclusions and recommendations be formulated in this field to promote sustainable development through tourism? The “Conference on Tourism and the Audiovisual Industry” will provide answers to these questions.

The event is will be carried out by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in collaboration with UNWTO Affiliate Members EGEDA (Entidad de Gestión de Derechos de los Productores Audiovisuales), the Tourism Promotion Council of Quintana Roo and the XCaret Group, and with the support of the Barceló Hotel & Resorts Group. 

The Conference will be integrated into the extensive programme of events in the context of the 2020 Platino Awards Gala, which will be held under the theme “17 Awards – 17 Sustainable Development Goals” and will bring together prominent representatives from the entire Ibero-American audiovisual industry: producers, directors, actors, and professionals, among others.

The conference will focus on the different aspects of the relationship between tourism, the film/audiovisual industry and the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will feature presentations and debates on cultural tourism, the beneficial impact of cinema on tourism promotion, strengthening the competitiveness of a destination and how to promote and incorporate the SDGs in movies.

Given the nature of this approach, which literally gives visibility to the SDGs through creative narratives, the Conference is very much in line with the recently initiated Decade of Action for the SDGs, which marks the countdown towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Global Goals that derive from it.

Building bridges

The conference will be aimed at public and private entities linked to the tourism and audiovisual sectors, respectively (producers, directors, actors and other film professionals, Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), National Tourism Administrations (NTAs), Ministries of Tourism, and UNWTO Affiliate Members, among others).
The event will facilitate dialogue between tourism destinations and the most important companies producing films and series, public and private television networks, sales agents, distributors and exhibitors from more than 30 countries, with the common objective of promoting film tourism through the opening of a special market area to encourage the promotion and marketing of products and services related to the audiovisual, tourism and education sectors.

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