Summer means business

Come summer and the Middle Eastern traveller explores various ways to unwind, be it in the form of staycations or travelling for retail tourism. Other destinations stand to gain a lot through these visits. Industry spokespersons share this season’s inbound and outbound trends.

Shehara Rizly

Sigrid de Mazieres, Director, German National Tourist Office – Gulf Countries

The GCC market is Germany’s third-largest non-European source market, behind China and the US. GCC travellers stay an average of 11 nights and spend on average $5,300 per person per trip, significantly more than other international travellers. In 2009, overnight stays in Germany by GCC nationals amounted to 770,000. By 2018, the number of overnight stays surged to 1.8 million, which demonstrates that the annual number of overnight stays went up by 130 per cent over the past decade. GCC travellers get immersed in nature’s best, along with outdoor activities with interactive and digital experiences in Hamburg. According to the latest forecast from the GNTB, GCC nationals visiting Germany are expected to increase to 3.6 million overnight stays by 2030, compared with 1.8 million guest nights from Gulf nationals recorded in 2018, with key markets being UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Sigrid de Mazieres, Director, German National Tourist Office – Gulf Countries
We continue to expand and accelerate the passenger numbers. Oman Air has started operations to Alexandria and Athens this year. The codeshare with Gulf Air was extended recently to include Tbilisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan, Gassim in Saudi Arabia and Beirut in Lebanon from Bahrain flights to and from Muscat, connection to Salalah and Khasab in Oman, Nairobi in Kenya, Zanzibar in Tanzania, Goa and Lucknow in India, Kathmandu in Nepal and Jakarta in Indonesia. Also, the codeshare arrangements with Kenyan Airways has also been expanded. We also work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and other stakeholders in promoting Oman from our network throughout the year. Oman’s growing reputation as a soughtafter MiCE destination is a crucial factor to bolster our sales and marketing strategies.

Christophe Brico, Press Manager, Monaco Tourism Authority
Our main objective for this year is to become efficient to host global visitors. We aim to restructure Monaco by recognising the types of tourists flocking to the country and create experiences that are memorable. As a destination, we are an all-year round vacation hub. During the last 10 years, the Middle Eastern traveller numbers have been soaring; Saudi Arabia and UAE have been important markets for us. One family from the UAE or Saudi Arabia represents about 20 to 30 people from Germany, Italy or any other destination. Summer is the busiest time, with many Middle Eastern visitors making their way to enjoy the mild summer in Monaco. We are a small country of 2.25 square kilometers and 2500 rooms. Our hotels propose infrastructure that can accommodate the families through interconnecting rooms, or a big apartment or connecting three or our rooms.

Elif Derya Bakkal, Cluster Director of Commercial Strategy – Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum
At the Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, we’re all set for a very exciting summer! The recently unveiled Kai Beach at the property ensures a unique beach experience for the guests. We host an exciting line-up of surprise performances and projects, along with a spread of exotic and healthy savouries. We have added five new luxury villas and suites and enhanced our cabanas at our famous Blue Beach, to attract visitors. The Middle East continues to be a big market for us with increasing interest from the region – especially with more flights now, including direct flights from Qatar and Kuwait. Our numbers are also on the rise in India.

Bruno Wiley, Vice President Sales, Experience Hub
Experience Hub has brought to the table the best brands to collaborate and bring in more numbers to the island. We partner with hotels out of the island as well. Today, we have 2200 rooms, three big theme parks – Yas Water World, Ferrari World and Warner Brothers. At our Yas Marina Circuit, the Formula One Grand Prix is conducted every year. We have an extensive golf course and one of the largest malls in Abu Dhabi, Yas Mall; more are to come up over the next 18 months. We are investing in rooms and new parks to provide memorable experiences to the visitors. Some B2B partners are already working with us.

Nisreen Boustani,  PR & Corporate Communications Manager, Mercato
Mercato has in its offering an array of amazing activities, events and deals to ensure a memorable experience during the six-week summer festival for the GCC nationals. Mall visitors can enjoy a host of a great variety of international circus shows, roaming performances in addition to kid’s circus workshops, where they will learn fun tricks and more. For every AED 200 spent at Mercato or Town Centre Jumeirah, during DSS, shoppers will get the chance to win incredible prizes. We look forward to a spectacular Dubai Summer Surprises in 2019, with fun-packed programmes planned for family members


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