Understanding Middle East and its’ Tourism Potential
May it be a paradise on the body of mass sand-scapes, a fiction-like destination swaying through sandy exoticism or a luxury-fronted utopia for lovers of splendor, Middle East has boomed in being a travel destination to the whole world. For a statistical point of view, the Middle East has more than doubled its tourist count from 24.1 to 60.3 million within just a decade.
The region has shown massive growth in its tourism as well as its’ business confidence. With luxury-headed tourists, of whom 80% are home grown, the region is exponentially developing its fine tourism sector. While Europe and America stayed as the greatest destinations for tourism, Middle East build its exotic flare and is rejoicing on the effort as we speak. There are several door-openings for tech startups that, in combinations with the better acknowledged consumers, have led Middle East to transform into a star.
Considering Middle East’s case of tourism development, the basic factors of success are fairly present. Starting with –
As Middle Eastern tourists are luxury seekers and disapproving of standard travel experiences, they tend to be loyal to whom they do business with. Likely, the tourism businesses throughout the region are affected by this culture. The companies are adapting to the practice of consumer retentions by delivering absolute quality and satisfaction.
Development as a Community
If we think the Middle East scored big time with each company being on its own, then we have mistaken. Arabian Travel Market hosts seminars with presentations from acing businesses sharing success stories alongside collective learning.
On the technology’s part, there are a few things that bolstered the tourism hype; like a growing middle class consumer base; a base that has greatly adapted to mobile technology in tourism. Hence, the result is high cash flow through the virtual space. However, there are no big Online Travel Agents that are local. People usually use sites such as HolidayMe.com, Expedia and Agoda to find travel details. However, Musafir.com is a Sharjah based OTA that is aiming to be the makemytrip.com of the Middle East. Co-founder of the company, Albert Dias, has mentioned that even though his company started in 2007, the Middle East is a region with great potential of an online big bang; thus, he is most awaiting to ride the wave. Dias further said to Tnooz.com:
“Consumers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of booking online. Adoption of smart phones and more online travel brands coming into the market, educating consumers, are opening the minds of people to the OTA model.”
On another side, Cleartrip.com penetrated Middle East in 2011 with an investment total of $10 million. The company’s senior VP Tarique Khatri said –
“If you remove the Indian domestic business sector, the Middle East is ahead of India in terms of mobile traction.
“Mobile accounts for up to 15% of Cleartrip’s bookings in the Middle East and 25% of searches. Customers seem more confident of booking on mobile than on the website. Having localized payment options helps of course.
“We have customers whose first experience of Cleartrip is with mobile. There’s a certain set of customers on mobile who are more confident about booking online.”
Some leading brands are starting to entertain the idea of mobile apps due to the majority of consumers being more mobile dependant. Emirates is soon launching their new iPad app because they believe that a Tab’s user interface is going to incline the consumer base towards more Tab reliability.
Sameer Poonja, head of digital technologies at Emirates says –
“Mobile is very exciting – I pay all my bills on mobile for example. We expect that tablets will drive even more bookings because of the user interface.”
Data by Phocuswright shows rapid growth in the mobile sector with the following chart:
In the above projection of Middle East’s OTA business, mobile activity has grown from a 6% last year to a solid 10% in 2016 and another 5% increase next year as expected.
Compared to the vastness of the desert in the middle earth, modern cities are nothing but dot likes. However, the potential of each Arabian city today is as vast as the deserts in becoming the next top world tourism destination.