As Dubai targets 20 million annual visitors by 2020, plus an additional five million between October 2020 and April 2021 for Expo 2020 – 70 percent of which will come from outside the UAE – a number of initiatives to increase stopover tourism have been introduced including new transit visas and dedicated tourism packages.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, ATM, said, “In 2018, the UAE introduced a new transit visa allowing all transit passengers an exemption from entry fees for 48 hours with the option to extend up to 96 hours. This visa is not only good for the country’s tourism sector but for the local economy as a whole, enticing passengers to view their transit not as an unwanted delay in their travels – but as a good opportunity to add value to their trip and experience everything the UAE has to offer.”
According to IATA, the Middle East is forecast to see an extra 290 million air passengers on routes to, from and within the region by 2037, with the total market size increasing to 501 million passengers during the same period.
Adding to this, figures from ATM 2018 show the number of delegates interested in buying airline products and services increased 13 percent between 2017 and 2018.