Colliers International’s data, released ahead of the Arabian Travel Market 2020, has revealed that destination wedding tourism, solo and female travel, and ecotourism, wellness, adventure and agrotourism (EWAA) are defining today’s hospitality landscape.
According to data, the destination wedding segment is worth more than $90 billion globally, with 25 per cent of weddings now taking place abroad – equating to approximately 340,000 destination weddings each year.
As for the Middle East region, the wedding market is worth over $4.5 billion, attracting five per cent of the global destination weddings market. The UAE is the most popular option, due to its relaxed visa regulations, easy connectivity and year-round sunshine, as well as its variety of pristine beaches and scenic mountain ranges.
Exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, Danielle Curtis commented: “Destination wedding tourism is just one of four key trends identified in the Colliers report that will define the Middle East, and indeed, the global travel and tourism market as well as consumer behaviour, as we look ahead to 2020 and beyond.
“Overseas weddings are now playing a key role in the overall growth of the global hospitality industry, as more couples seek a unique as well as a personalised experience abroad. And in addition, these weddings are also positively impacting the local economies,” Curtis added.
The emerging trend of EWAA is popular among environmentally conscious consumers. According to the Colliers data, 70 per cent of global travellers are now more likely to book accommodation that is eco-friendly, with 52 per cent prepared to alter their behaviour on holiday to become more eco-conscious. Travellers are now in search of sustainable accommodation options and experiences, including glamping.
Curtis said: “Glamping has become increasingly popular in the Middle East over recent years, mainly as a result of the region’s varied landscapes, with various glamping sites opening throughout the UAE, Oman and Jordan including Hatta Sedr Lodges, Hatta; Bedouin Oasis Camp, Ras Al Khaimah; Desert Nights Camp, Oman and Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp, Jordan.”
Meanwhile, other major predictions include a rise in the number of solo and female travellers. Global searches for solo travel witnessed an increase of 17.4 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017. Colliers’ data indicates that 58 per cent of millennials are more likely to travel alone compared with 47 per cent of baby boomers, while 74 per cent of lone travellers are females with social media, particularly Instagram and Pinterest, being the main sources for travel inspiration for these unaccompanied trips.
Curtis concluded: “Women control approximately 40 per cent of global wealth, a factor that has greatly contributed to more woman opting to take solo trips in recent years. Seeking time for themselves, solo female travellers tend to select their location based on adventure, culture, relaxation and gastronomy, as well as visiting destinations as part of voluntary programmes or to learn new skills.”
The Arabian Travel Market 2020 is scheduled to take place from April 19-22, 2020, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.