Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important discussion worldwide and the Middle East’s luxury sector is no exception. In the UAE, where 61 per cent of residents are willing to pay a premium for responsible and sustainable tourism experiences, luxury travellers are seeking out more eco-friendly options.
A report by YouGov found that since the Covid-19 pandemic, travel has become more important to almost two-thirds of respondents, with the UAE topping global rankings in terms of the value placed on exploring.
When it comes to luxury travel priorities, great entertainment is essential for a quarter of UAE residents, while 19 percent emphasise premium-quality accommodations. According to YouGov’s Global Travel & Tourism White Paper 2023: Luxury travel post-pandemic, one in 10 consumers has stayed in luxury eco-friendly accommodation during the past three years. This trend is particularly prevalent among high-income travellers, with a 50 per cent increase in sustainable luxury hotel stays.
The desire for authentic experiences is also on the rise among affluent tourists, said the report, with 51 percent seeking more meaningful travel experiences since the pandemic. More than a quarter, 27 percent, are willing to pay extra for secluded villas and chalets. These figures coincide with significant growth across the Gulf’s travel industry, with the UAE (USD 30.5 billion), Saudi Arabia (USD 27 billion), Kuwait (USD 17 billion) and Qatar (USD 13 billion) all set to see growth in their outbound sectors by 2028.
According to Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, “The Middle East has developed an unparalleled international reputation for luxury tourism, with consumers across the region placing a high value on bespoke, memorable and environmentally responsible experiences.”
“This is especially pertinent given Arabian Travel Market 2023’s theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Industry leaders will be showcasing the innovative ways in which they are delivering luxury, sustainable travel experiences across the Gulf and beyond,” she added.
The 30th edition of ATM, scheduled from May 1 to 4, 2023 in Dubai, will explore the future of sustainable travel in line with its theme. Having officially initiated its journey to net zero, the conference programme will explore how innovative sustainable travel trends are likely to evolve, allowing delegates to identify growth strategies within key vertical sectors, while providing a platform for regional experts to explore a sustainable future ahead of COP28, which will take place in November 2023 at Expo City Dubai.