Business travel expenditure in the Middle East is forecast to rise by a third this year, following a predicted 49 per cent increase during 2021.

That is according to a report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) published in November.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Middle East, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), said: “This positive data will provide a welcome boost for business travel and tourism professionals throughout the Middle East region, as economies around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, despite the disruption caused by the outbreak of the Omicron variant.

“During 2021, the increase in business spending for the full year is expected to have actually outpaced spending on leisure travel by 13, ten and one per cent in the Middle East, Europe and Africa respectively.”

She added: “Aviation experts speaking at ATM 2021, had expected business travel to lag behind leisure travel, but this estimated increase of 32 per cent, comes on top of a predicted rise during 2021 of 49 per cent which although 2020 was a challenging year, the business travel segment is now clearly accelerating towards pre pandemic levels.”

In terms of business travel spending in 2021, the report ranks the Middle East region first with an increase of 49 per cent, followed by Europe and Africa (36 per cent), Asia Pacific (32 per cent) and the Americas (14 per cent).

According to the report, the Asia Pacific region will lead the world in 2022 with growth in spending of 41 per cent, followed by the Americas with a 35 per cent increase, the Middle East 32 per cent, Europe on 28 per cent and Africa with a 23 per cent rise.

The WTTC report was compiled in collaboration with McKinsey & Company called ‘Adapting to Endemic Covid-19: The Outlook for Business Travel’ and draws on research, analysis and in-depth interviews with travel and tourism business leaders to enable organisations to prepare for corporate travel in the post-pandemic era.

ATM will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from May 9-12 this year.

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