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 WTM, London, 2018 WTM, London, 2018

MEA Trends was focus for WTM Day Three

Gastrodiplomacy in Jordan, plans for Expo 2020 in Dubai, opportunities in Africa and the latest travel trends for the region were all hotly debated topics in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) Inspiration Zone on Day Three of WTM London.

Increased security, rising demand and growing competition in the Middle East and Africa region is opening up tourism, according to Euromonitor’s Travel Trends research.

Lea Meyer, senior analyst, told the audience at the Middle East and Africa Inspiration Zone inbound arrivals are expected to record a compound aggregate growth rate (CAGR) of six percent between now and 2023, making MEA one of the fastest-growing regions, second only to Asia Pacific. In the same time period, MEA is set to be the second fastest growing region in terms of disposable income.

Tunisia is expected to achieve a 3,5 percent CAGR between 2018 - 2023, largely due to the return of traditional European tourists, the country’s main source market. Saudi Arabia is forecast to achieve a CAGR of 7,4 percent. For the first time this year, Saudi Arabia issued tourist visas, as part of its strategy of boosting international visitor figures.

The audience was also given a snapshot of the latest developments for Expo 2020, the hugely anticipated mega-event taking place in Dubai in two years’ time.

Expo 2020 will open on October 20, 2020, for six months, closing on April 10, 2021 during which time 25 million people are expected to visit.

Laura Faulkner, UK commissioner, Expo 2020 Dubai, described the event as the largest event on earth - the Olympics of tourism.