According to the research, overnight visitor flows are expected to grow at 5.4% per annum over the next decade worldwide, significantly faster than GDP growth at 3.4 per cent. However, the Middle East and Africa region is expected to witness even higher growth, at an annual rate of 11.9%, faster than the 8.4 % growth registered over the previous 10-year period.
Antoine Medawar, Vice President, Amadeus MENA, said: “It is encouraging to see such a positive forecast for our region. We can all feel optimistic from the signs of growth in the travel sector across most countries in the region, which is certain to have a halo effect on overall GDP.”
Written by Oxford economics, the Amadeus-commissioned report forecasts a 7.6% growth in outbound travel spend for the Middle East and Africa over the next ten years, ahead of Europe and the Americas but behind the substantial 17.9% growth in Asia. The Gulf region, due to its geographical position and growth plans of its main international airlines and hub airports is set to benefit from this ‘Asian effect’.
Citing figures 2009 – 2013, the report highlights the 78.6% growth in long-haul transfer passenger numbers through the Middle East, compared to a rise of 20.1% in Asia, 10% in Europe and 7.7% in North America.
According to Antoine Medawar, vice president MENA for Amadeus said the relative scale of growth was very impressive. “Point to point traffic may be growing, but at the same time, airports are competing to be regional hubs,” he said. “Hub airports in the Middle East have profited from their strategic location between Asia, Africa, and Europe in attracting long-haul transfer passengers, with Dubai airport leading the pack.”
Other figures in the report charted the growth of passenger traffic between regions from 2009 to 2013, with Middle East/Africa to Asia Pacific routes up 33.09%.