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Dubai tops luxury travel destinations in MENA

Dubai is ranked as a top preferred upscale destination for luxury travellers across the Middle East and North Africa region, a new research found.

A recently published report by international internet-based market research firm YouGov, surveyed more than 1,000 respondents across the region, reverting back with interesting findings.

“A 2014 YouGov Luxury Travel report for the Mena region showed that out of the 1,000-plus regionally based survey respondents, luxury clearly has a home in the Middle East with Dubai ranked in top spot as the preferred upscale destination,” Nadege Noblet, exhibition manager of Arabian Travel Market, WTM Portfolio, Reed Travel Exhibitions, said.

Luxury travel trends will be highlighted during the upcoming Arabian Travel Market 2015, set to take place next May at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

During the four-day fair, the International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Middle East will bring luxury-focused exhibitors and travel buyers looking for the best experiences in the region under one roof.

The Official Luxury and Leisure Host Hotel for the duration of the event will be The Atlantis, The Palm. According to 69 per cent of those surveyed in the YouGov report, the availability of five-star hotels is a minimum requirement when defining luxury travel, and defining overall luxury as “differentiating, discovery and experiences.”

“With no universally accepted definition of what luxury travel is, brands need to truly understand what luxury means to their customers in order to be successful,” YouGov’s Travel & Leisure Research Director, Scott Booth.

Middle East luxury travellers are relatively active; survey participants had taken an average of 1.9 luxury holidays during the past 12 months, ranking a good hotel room view and choices of fine dining restaurants as essential to ensure a pleasurable travel experience.

The research found that 61 percent of luxury tourists coming from the Mena market choose to travel with their spouses, stay an average of 5.1 nights and the vast majority choose to go on a luxury trip for the sole purpose of relaxation.

“Interestingly, 77 per cent of respondents said that they were likely to book an all-inclusive luxury holiday package, which is an area of opportunity that many Gulf destinations have yet to explore,” Mark Walsh, portfolio director for Luxury Events at Reed Travel Exhibitions, said.

Given that family travels are common in the Mena region, and to further delve into that pool of opportunities, the Arab Travel Market 2015 features a central Family Travel theme alongside other popular branded themes, including budget travel, health and well-being, shopping, transportation, sports travel, culture and heritage and adventure travel – most common with the younger travellers.