Middle East’s Digital Transformation to Aid Recovery of Leisure Tourism Industry

Latest reports by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and a global consulting firm Oliver Wyman have highlighted the urgent need to develop a globally coordinated approach that can aid the recovery of tourism sector amid the pandemic. Planning to invest more than $350 billion in theme parks and attractions, the Middle East is now focusing on its leisure tourism industry.

The news was released in a report by the Middle East North Africa Leisure Attractions Council (Menalac) prior to the LEA Conference and Annual Awards Ceremony on November 10. Speaking about future endeavours, the Council stated that Middle East’s entertainment and amusement industry will be the fastest in the world to recover from the pandemic.

In order to increase its tourist arrival numbers and improve visitor experiences, theme park operators in the region have started investing in new age technology, including virtual reality and artificial intelligence. For preparing leisure travel industry for the new normal, the Council is planning to introduce digital ticketing, cloud-based solutions and digital payments.

These moves clearly reflect the Council’s firm belief in the fact that digital and contactless technology will play an important role in shaping the leisure travel sector of the region post Covid-19. Recently the WTTC released a report titled — “To Recovery and Beyond: The Future of Travel and Tourism in The Wake Of Covid-19” which explained how four macro-trends will aid in the recovery and progress of the tourism sector.

Towards the end of 2019, the Founding and Executive Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association — Ali Ahmed Alnaqbi had predicted that 2020 would be a good year for the business aviation sector in the MENA region. He estimated that the UAE would witness a nine percent growth, which is a little higher than the global growth rate of four-five percent.

The growth rate can be validated as per the statements of large business jet operators — DC Aviation Al-Futtaim, who claimed that the leisure travel industry is growing in the Middle East as an increasing number of people are now demanding charter aircrafts. Opting for a more personal travelling experience helps people to feel safer than in a crowded airport. Managing Director — Holger Ostheimer has stated that the firm is seeing new enquiries for aircraft purchases. Some people who can afford expensive travelling have started planning to buy their own aircraft and put it on lease when not using it.

Moreover, the news of the launch of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine has created a huge demand for the luxury travel industry all over the world. Based on its latest investments in the digital field, one can anticipate that the future of Middle East’s tourism is bright!

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