Home > Australasia > Wallis and Futuna
Related topics: Wallis and Futuna,ANALYSIS, Business, Sub-Saharan Africa
September 15, 2009

Business travel group confident Middle East economy will remain strong

Tough economic conditions have hit the Middle East more than anticipated, but it remains a popular market to do business, according to international corporate travel services company HRG.

Despite the International Monetary Fund’s recent decision to revise down 2009 growth forecasts for the region, 2010 predictions remain robust. HRG believes that its work with corporates in the Middle East, combined with excellent flight connections and investment in infrastructure and accommodation, means the market is well-placed to emerge stronger than ever from the current downturn.

Leading destination
“Continued investment in infrastructure, a varied and high-quality hotel offering and an emerging reputation as a hub for international business mean that the Middle East should emerge from the recession as a leading corporate travel destination,” says Iain Andrew, divisional senior vice president at Dnata Travel Services, a business partner of HRG in the region.

“Meanwhile, we have been working closely with clients in the Middle East to introduce more flexible policies that are helping to maximise value and boost compliance.”

Quick response
HRG reports that it has seen corporates in the Middle East readily adopt new working practices to help them remain nimble in the current climate, ensuring they can anticipate and respond quickly to changes in the operating environment.

The company has found that many are switching to online booking tools and services, which enable them to run up-to-the-minute management information reports, improve visibility of travel spend and achieve more control over budgets.

Europe continues to be by far the biggest originator of corporate travel to the Middle East, reflecting the excellent flight connections that make it an increasingly important and accessible destination. However, there has also been a marked growth in demand from India, China and South America, highlighting the region’s growing importance as an international business centre.

Growing incentive
The meetings and events industry in the Middle East has shown encouraging signs, with HRG Middle East and West Asia (MEWA) reporting a year-on-year increase in the number of enquiries related to incentive travel.

In parallel, there is a growing trend to combine business and leisure over recent months. Corporates are combining activities such as educational seminars with dinners and sightseeing, which HRG attributes in part to a greater emphasis on employee motivation and recognition of the importance of good work/life balance.

This is particularly evident in Dubai, where significant investment in leisure infrastructure to help diversify the country’s economy is paying dividends. HRG expects this trend to continue as companies seek to maximise value from their travel spend.

Better value
Continued investment in hotels is increasing supply, and the introduction of lower-cost establishments, such as Dubai’s new Premier Inn, is helping to balance out the region’s high rates.

This has created a new benchmark for value for money in the Middle East, and means that corporate travellers are well placed to negotiate better rates.

The notable exception is Abu Dhabi, which is reflecting trends previously seen in Dubai, with supply still struggling to keep pace with demand, and rates increasing by an average 5%.

What do you think of this $type?





   IT&CM China  Caribbean Meeting Incentive Travel Exchange      Gulf Incentive, Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition EIBTM IBTM IMEX America  IT&CMA IT&CM China IT&CM India Conventa BTC convene  cventMBTMMA 2013 COCAL 

GLOBAL AGENCY PARTNERS                                                                                           OFFICIAL TRADE SHOW PARTNER FOR THE UK MEETINGS MARKET 

MCI Ovation Euromic