Technology is growing in leaps and bounds across the Middle East. Recent studies show that one in six consumers in the region now use the Internet as a booking platform of choice, according to hotelmarketing.com. In addition, there is also a growing trend of digitally engaged travellers across the Middle East demanding a tailor-made approach from travel providers.
Riding on this growth, the travel technology theatre at the forthcoming Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2014 will highlight new developments in the digital travel field.
According to Cisco, mobile data traffic in the Middle East & Africa region will grow faster than in any other part of the world between now and 2018, with penetration of smartphones and tablets using the latest technology forecast to reach 598 million devices within the next four years, up from just 133 million in 2013.
“Around 60% of airline booking and ticketing in Dubai alone comes from e-commerce and with youth accounting for 60% of the GCC population the need for the tourism industry in the region to be at the forefront of digital development and connectivity is a given,” said Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
“We will welcome 72 travel technology-specific exhibitors to ATM. This demonstrates the influence of online technology on all aspects of the travel cycle from planning and booking to recording memories and sharing experiences,” added Walsh.
As per data from PhoCusWright in 2013 revealed that online travel agency sales in the Middle East hit US$ 2.3 bn last year, and this figure is expected to jump by four percent to 17% by end of 2014. The GCC countries are also leading in terms of social media activity, with 94% or 56 m MENA region users on Facebook and Twitter generating around 10 m Tweets per day with over 3.7 m users.