Mideast business travel to reach $28.4 billion by 2016

DUBAI — Business travel in the Middle East is seen to reach $28.4 billion by 2016, prompting the government-owned travel company Dnata to tie up with a British media consultancy group to hold the first Dubai-edition of



By Jose N Franco Jr

Published: Fri 20 Apr 2007, 9:44 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:15 PM

In an open forum yesterday that tackled market trends and other issues affecting regional travel, Dnata officials said the industry, particularly business-related, will increase despite the presence of other airlines offering big discounts on tickets and other travel services.

'The market will continue to grow even with the presence of low-cost carriers,' said Iain Andrew, senior vice president of Dnata Agencies. 'No one has done that (low-cost pricing of air travel) successfully.'

Abdulla Tawakul, vice-president for Government & Corporate Travel at Dnata, expressed doubt on the ability of low-cost carriers to sustain their businesses, considering that fuel alone eats up 30 per cent of operation costs.

A leading business travel exhibition in Britain and Germany, 'The Business Travel Show' will be held on October 29-30 at the Madinat Jumeirah Arena, under the patronage of Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, industry leaders yesterday said.

Part of this effort stemmed from the rosy projection for the industry in the Middle East-of which Dubai is the travel hub-that would reach 5.6 per cent over the next nine years, as compared to the world figure of 3.6 per cent.

The Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing said 80 per cent of all travel to and from the Gulf region is business-related. It added that last year's business travel was estimated to be worth $13.7 billion.

Sally Pugmire, event director of Business Travel Show-Dubai, said the two-day event will bring together senior directors of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), travel management professionals from larger organisations, and travel managers and buyers within government and the public sector.

She said the event will be staged jointly by UK's Centaur Media Plc and Dnata World of Events, in partnership with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE). The latter is tasked to run the educational sessions during the exhibition.

Stressing the absence of a concrete management relationship among industry players, Pugmire said the event could serve as a vehicle for buyers, sellers and travel agents to come together to talk and close business deals.

Meanwhile, Tawakul said industry players have agreed on the way forward with regard to zero-commission policy, making it a 'win-win' situation for all concerned. Corporate travellers, he said, need more than just air tickets. Which means that they also need credit facility, consultants and advisers on travel activity--that industry players can provide.

Dnata officials said they have also looked into the American and European markets as models for the company's e-commerce activity, wherein business travellers can book their tickets and accommodations online.


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