A lot of UAE tourists prefer Italy for holidays

A lot of UAE tourists prefer Italy for holidays
The Grand Canal in Venice is one of the most visited places in Italy

Visa applications from Dubai and Northern Emirates increased to 45,000 in the last four years

By Fabrizio Puglisi

Published: Thu 27 Oct 2016, 2:02 PM

Last updated: Thu 27 Oct 2016, 6:09 PM

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the tourism arrivals worldwide will increase up to  1.8 billion by 2030 and the international tourism will keep growing, thanks to the constantly expanding economies. The Middle East registered a 9 per cent growth in outbound travel numbers last year, making it the fastest growing outbound market.
"There will be 43 million international tourists every year in the global market," says Fabrizio Puglisi, Tourism and Destination Marketing Consultant, Adjunct Professor and Speaker. "The tourism arrivals in the 'new' economies will grow faster than the rest of the world (+4.4 per cent vs +2.2 per cent per year), so the dominant role of Europe, main destination worldwide, will be proportionally reduced. Within this frame, Italy should maintain its market share and focus on rapidly increasing economies (UAE is one of them) in order to attract and maintain new tourism flows," he added.
In the Middle East, the UAE is the top outbound travel market in terms of value, and second after Saudi Arabia in terms of travel volume. This is due to several factors such as the increase in population and direct flights to and from main destinations, including cities such as Rome, Milan, Venice and Bologna.
Besides the new Schengen rule that do not require Emiratis to request for a visa, the number of visa applications from Dubai and Northern Emirates to Italy rapidly increased in the last four years from 10,000 to 45,000, according to the Consulate General of Italy in Dubai.
"The UAE outbound market is developing into a great niche market, especially for Italian destinations that can offer the right kind of products and services that high-spending Arabian travellers seek. There is plenty of growth potential for this market in the coming years," said Valentina Setta, Consul General of Italy in Dubai. "CKGS Italy Visa Application Centre in Dubai is the official visa application centre for the Consulate General of Italy."
The increase is mainly due to the culture, art, history, land, and nature (Italy has 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the highest out of all countries on the World Heritage List). It is also due to excellent bilateral relations between Italy and the UAE, as well as the increased number of direct flights operated by Emirates, Alitalia and Etihad Airways. The latter recently signed a ?1.76-billion euro ($2.4 billion) deal to purchase 49 per cent of Alitalia SpA.
Moreover, the event Expo 2015 Milan brought more attention, raised awareness of Dubai Expo 2020, and boosted Italy to the top 10 of the most visited countries from  the UAE.  

Expo 2015 Milan in figures

Over 21 million visitors and over 35 million MICE presences were registered in Italy (15 per cent more than 2014). Hoteliers also reported an increased numbers of guests in Milan compared to the same period of 2014.
Tourists visiting Milan and Expo are growing in number and the Milanese tourist system noted an excellent start in 2016, according to the Milan Chamber of Commerce.
After Expo 2015, occupancy in extra luxury structures in Italy rose between 10 and 20 per cent compared to last year. Main destinations were Milan, Como, Venice and neighbours, followed by Tuscany, Rome, Emerald Coast, Capri, and Portofino  in Liguria.
Expo Milan 2015 passes the baton to the next Universal Exhibition to be held in Dubai from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021. The theme "Connecting Minds. Creating the Future" will discuss sustainability, opportunity and mobility.
Fabrizio Puglisi is an Italy - GCC Tourism Expert based in Dubai.

Expo Milano 2015 effect: More tourists are visiting the city even after the successful completion of the event
Expo Milano 2015 effect: More tourists are visiting the city even after the successful completion of the event

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