Business travel expenditure in the Middle East is forecast to rise by 32 percent this year, following a predicted 49 percent increase during 2021, according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) published in November 2021.

In terms of business travel spending in 2021, the report ranks the Middle East region first with an increase of 49 percent, followed by Europe and Africa (36 percent), Asia Pacific (32 percent) and the Americas (14 percent). According to the report, the Asia Pacific region will lead the world in 2022 with growth in spending of 41 percent, followed by the Americas with a 35 percent increase, the Middle East with 32 percent, Europe on 28 percent and Africa with a 23 percent rise.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director for Middle East at Arabian Travel Market (ATM), said, “This positive data will provide a welcome boost for business travel and tourism professionals throughout the Middle East region, as economies around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, despite the disruption caused by the outbreak of the Omicron variant. During 2021, the increase in business spending for the full year is expected to have actually outpaced spending on leisure travel by 13 percent, 10 percent and 1 percent in the Middle East, Europe and Africa respectively.

According to Curtis, aviation experts speaking at ATM 2021 had expected business travel to lag behind leisure travel, but this estimated increase of 32 percent, comes on top of a predicted rise during 2021 of 49 percent which the business travel segment is now clearly accelerating towards pre pandemic levels.

The WTTC report was compiled in collaboration with McKinsey & Company called ‘Adapting to Endemic Covid-19: The Outlook for Business Travel’ and draws on research, analysis and in-depth interviews with travel & tourism business leaders to enable organisations to prepare for corporate travel in the post-pandemic era.

The UAE remains one of the most Covid-secure countries on the planet, with consistently low case rates and robust measures to ensure tourists’ safety at every stage of their visit. Like its neighbouring emirates, Dubai is committed to maintaining the highest hygiene and safety standards. WTTC has endorsed its pandemic management, awarding the city a ‘Safe Travels’ stamp.


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