Family tourism has emerged as a major segment of the Islamic economy, accounting for as much as 12.5% of the US$ 1.07 trillion global tourism market in 2012. These statistics were reported by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry in its latest research.
The report has been released as part of the preparations for the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), scheduled to be organised by Dubai Chamber and the WIEF Foundation in Dubai from 28-30 October 2014.
“Family tourism is one of the most vibrant areas of the global tourism industry and a key element of the Islamic economy. With Muslim travellers constituting a major segment of the global tourism traffic, priorities of families have become critical to tourism industry’s growth and have redefined focal areas for tourism activities,” said HE Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chamber.
Highlighting potential for the UAE market, the Dubai Chamber report says UAE is ranked first on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index 2013 in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) category. The UAE is positioned high in the new emerging travel market since family values are embedded in the UAE culture. The highest rating of 8.4 was awarded to Malaysia; which has helped the country attract over 170,000 visitors from the GCC alone in 2013.
According to the report, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations contribute as much as 31% of the total spending by travellers in tourism related activities. This is despite the relatively low population in the region, which makes up just three per cent of the global Muslim population.
Saudi Arabia is also one of the top source markets for family tourism, accounting for US$ 17.1 bn in spending in 2012, the Dubai Chamber report said. While the UAE follows with spending worth US$ 10.1 bn, travellers from Kuwait accounted for US$ 7.4 bn in spending. Interestingly, the report has identified Iran as the leading source market in the Middle East with US$ 18.2 in spending by its travellers.