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Family travel: A trend to keep an eye on

Family travel’s share of the global hospitality sector continues to grow, inviting more focus from top industry players.

“The global family tourism market was worth $140 billion in 2013. That figure is set to rise to more than $180bn by 2018, with growth expected to continue at a rate of 4.79 per cent annually until 2020, compared with just 3.8 per cent overall tourism growth,” explains recent Thomson Reuters data.

The Arabian Travel Market announced recently that family travel was going to take a larger part of the exhibition.

“Demand for inter-regional family travel will also remain robust through to 2020 and beyond. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimated that the GCC population would soar to 53.5 million by 2020, 24 per cent of which would be under 15 years of age,” says Nadege Noblet, exhibition manager of Arabian Travel Market, WTM Portfolio and Reed Travel Exhibitions in a recent statement.

The exhibition taking place each year in Dubai is one of the largest in the region and witnesses professionals from around the world attend the event.

“Family travel is no longer simply about maximising revenue streams during school holiday periods, putting temporary beds into existing rooms and adding kids’ activities to a one-size-fits-all entertainment programme. There has to be a sense of anticipation, inclusion, engagement, dedication and, of course, value,” says Noblet.

The World Islamic Economic Forum also announced that family tourism is a growing area of the Islamic economy.

“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, the priorities of families have become critical to the tourism industry’s growth and have redefined the focal areas for tourism activities,” said H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of Dubai Chamber in a statement.