The rise and rise of international destinations – hello tomorrow!

Nathalie Visele

By Nathalie Visele, Director, Shamal Marketing Communications, ATM’s official public relations company

One aspect of ATM that never fails to excite me is the increasing number of new destinations that ATM has managed to attract over the past five years. As you can imagine, there’s a number of reasons why any destination would want to visit the largest travel trade show in the Middle East, but there has always been an underlying trend – the increasing number of direct flights!

Emirates now flies to over 150 destinations, one of its new routes which opened up last year was Ho Chi Minh City. I had never been to Vietnam before, but the thought of a competitively priced direct flight, was enough to convince me to go and what a fantastic experience that was, totally unforgettable. And Emirates is not alone, there’s Etihad, Qatar Airways as well as low cost carriers such as flydubai and Air Arabia all eagerly expanding their global network of destinations.

Many of my friends have since visited Vietnam, so it would appear that by making destinations more accessible, it certainly does encourage not only independent travelers but travel agencies, hotels and tour operators to put packages together.

So I can almost hear you thinking, where is this all leading? Well, if you were marketing a destination and your traditional inbound markets had plateaued and you were looking for new inbound markets, where better than the Gulf states? And if viable, their airlines will invest in a route and actually come to your destination as well!

A recent 2015 survey which put the average salary for a company executive currently working in the GCC at around US$11,000 per month – now wait for it…tax free! And don’t forget that’s an average!!

So I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you when you discover that, a YouGov report last year found that 17% of MENA residents reported spending between USD 3000-5000 on their last holiday, nearly one-tenth, (9%) spent between USD 5000-7000, and 14% spent USD 7000 and above.

From August 3rd this year, Emirates will be flying direct to Yangon, Myanmar, another country I have always wanted to visit, but was always reluctant to take two flights, especially if it involved a stopover on the way out or on the way back, which really cuts into your holiday time.

Calling all new destinations at ATM, it’s my husband’s birthday in October…and I can feel a short break coming on, any ideas? Hello tomorrow…

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