Press release

Rapidly changing demographics to fuel major shift in GCC travel over next 15 years

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The coming-of-age of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s youthful population will reshape the travel industry in the region over the next fifteen years, as digital natives instinctively turn to mobile technologies and social media to plan, book and manage travel.


Population in GCC countries is younger, wealthier and more family-oriented than other regions worldwide

Youthful demographics’ travel behaviour will force a shift to new technologies, according to the Amadeus-commissioned new report Shaping the Future of Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Big Travel Effects

Dubai, June 5, 2014: The coming-of-age of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)’s youthful population will reshape the travel industry in the region over the next fifteen years, as digital natives instinctively turn to mobile technologies and social media to plan, book and manage travel.

Today, nearly 25% of the GCC population is under 15 years of age, and as this demographic becomes tomorrow’s decision makers, it will shake up traditional behaviours to become increasingly self-directed. As outlined in the Amadeus-commissioned new report, Shaping the Future of Travel in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Big Travel Effects, additional unfolding demographic forces such as a steady inflow of expatriate workers, robust natural population growth and a growing middle class, will combine to drive a new and divergent set of travel behaviours and needs in the region.

The report, written by Frost & Sullivan and Insights and commissioned by Amadeus, examines and contextualises the various ways a new travel landscape will develop in the Gulf region over the next fifteen years.

“The Gulf region is poised for a new era of travel as investment in infrastructure, new tourism sectors, and governmental initiatives to ease intra- and extra-regional movement make the GCC more attractive to leisure and business travellers,” said Antoine Medawar, Vice President, MENA, Amadeus.
He added, “The travel providers who address the nuanced needs of the region’s population stand to thrive in the coming decades. At Amadeus our people, our technology and our innovation are dedicated to helping our customers and partners to shape the future of travel in this region.”

Further key findings include:

Economies in the GCC are diversifying beyond oil, and specialist tourism sectors such as cruise, meetings and conferences and medical tourism play a prominent role in this diversification. As a result, GCC countries have maintained an average GDP growth of over 5% in the past decade, with a greater increase expected in the future.

Tourism will have a trickle-down effect into other sectors, furthering economic growth and diversification. Hospitality and construction in particular will benefit as the number of travellers entering or passing through the region increases –Qatar expects 3.7 million tourists in 2022 due to the FIFA World Cup and is investing $20 billion on tourism infrastructure and $140 billion on transport.

The GCC is working to make travel easier, both within the region and outbound. The difficulty of obtaining a visa has been the main reason for 33% of travellers surveyed not taking trips as often as they would like. By improving accessibility within the region and abroad, the number of intra-regional travellers is expected to increase four-fold by 2030.

“Travel in the Gulf region is changing. Economic diversification and a move from oil is an important driver, but there are many more subtle factors also at play. Changes in population and geopolitical pressure to open borders and make movement easier are also impacting the future of travel here,” observed Mona Faraj, Managing Partner, Insights.

The report was informed by a survey of some 1,000 travellers from the region as well as interviews with thought leaders in the travel industry. It highlights the technologically savvy and growing population of the GCC and predicts a travel landscape will develop in the region that is highly connected, personalised, and sustainable.
- Ends - 
Notes to the editors

In addition to a survey of some 1,000 travellers from the GCC, executives from the following companies contributed to the report:
  • Arab Air Carrier Organisation
  • Cleartrip
  • Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
  • Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority
  • Expedia
  • Facebook
  • flydubai
  • Fursan Travel
  • Google
  • Jumeirah Group
  • Kanoo Travel
  • Mariott International
  • National Corporation for Tourism and Hotels
  • PATA
  • Qatar Airways
  • Qatar Tourism Authority
  • Rotana
  • Teal Hospitality
  • Tourism and Culture Authority of Dubai
About Amadeus
Amadeus is a leading provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry. Customer groups include travel providers (e.g. airlines, hotels, rail and ferry operators, etc.), travel sellers (travel agencies and websites), and travel buyers (corporations and travel management companies).
The Amadeus group employs around 10,000 people worldwide. Amadeus has central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters), Nice (development) and Erding (operations – data processing center) and regional offices and centers in Boston, Dallas, Miami, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Dubai.  At a market level, Amadeus maintains customer operations through 71 local Amadeus Commercial Organizations covering 195 countries.

To find out more about Amadeus please visit www.amadeus.com

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants. 

Our “Growth Partnership” supports clients by addressing these opportunities and incorporating two key elements driving visionary innovation: The Integrated Value Proposition and The Partnership Infrastructure.

· The Integrated Value Proposition provides support to our clients throughout all phases of their journey to visionary innovation including: research, analysis, strategy, vision, innovation and implementation.   
· The Partnership Infrastructure is entirely unique as it constructs the foundation upon which visionary innovation becomes possible.  This includes our 360 degree research, comprehensive industry coverage, career best practices as well as our global footprint of more than 40 offices. 
For more than 50 years, we have been developing growth strategies for the global 1000, emerging businesses, the public sector and the investment community.
About Insights
Dynamic, energetic and passionate, Insights Management Consultancy LLC is a hospitality and service industry focused practice with a specialty in consumer and business research, marketing, distribution and sales. Already widely respected for their work in establishing new hotel brands, re-energizing ailing properties and for ground breaking research in the online space IMC are retained by independents, regional and global brands alike to ensure their business is correctly positioned, new properties are carefully researched, teams are trained and distribution is optimized. 

With a team of professionals who have extensive experience in sales and marketing, launching, managing and operating business across the GCC, Middle East and North Africa, IMC are well prepared to advise on feasibility, pre-opening, on-going strategy and business positioning to optimize investment or current performance. From their Abu Dhabi HQ and with offices in UK, Egypt and Lebanon IMC's connectivity to many of the hospitality industry decision makers, leaders and influencers means they are well placed to provide key information, on the ground intelligence and real customer facing sentiment.


Middle East, Mobile, Research, Travel sellers