Musafir.com, a leading online travel agency headquartered in the UAE, has revealed in its bi-annual travel trend report that sporting events will augment the tourism and hospitality economy up to 30% in the region.
The Middle East is becoming the world’s fastest-growing sports tourism destination valued at an estimated $600bn, according to the World Trade Organisation. Major events such as FIFA World Cup Qatar, Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, etc. will give Gulf tourism a boost in the last quarter of the year.
Amongst the GCC countries, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar will see the majority arrival of travellers mainly from Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the UK. The UAE topped the list as the preferred destination by travellers due to its proximity to major sporting events as well as family-oriented activities, personal safety and societal security, room availability, varied retail experiences, adventure sports and leisure, and seamless connectivity.
Due to seamless connectivity, the UAE can expect inbound flights to soar up to 20% as compared to same time last year. Apart from attending sporting events, fans will want to explore ‘thrill-seeking’ activities as an add-on for a comprehensive travel experience encapsulating all that the country has to offer. Camping and outdoor activities will also see an increase in Q4 of 2022 due to the pleasant weather.
Sachin Gadoya, CEO and Co-founder, Musafir.com and Musafir Business said, “Sports events act as a catalyst and can have a tremendous impact on the economy – as we will see millions of fans gather to not only watch their favourite sport but also to have an unforgettable experience during their stay in the region. We are anticipating an exponential growth in the tourism sector, due to the increasing number of tourists in Q4 of 2022 – as arrivals and occupancy will be even more than pre-pandemic times, which is a much-needed boost for the travel and hospitality sector.”
Findings show that due to hotels in Qatar being booked to full capacity during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, hotels in the UAE will see up to 40% rise in demand for accommodation and price inflation. In the lead-up to the event, Musafir.com has seen approximately 80% growth in advance booking between Dubai and Doha. This number will significantly increase even further by the end of 2022. The report also reveals an average spend by travellers would be approximately USD 5000 for a hotel stay, transport, shopping and to explore the city. The report also highlights that most of the hotel occupancy in the UAE will touch 100% during Q4 2022 with tourists looking for 5-star and 4-star hotels.
Recently, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman announced a multiple-entry tourist visa for fans attending the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to holders of ‘Hayya’ card – facilitating easy entry and exit for tourists.