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Amadeus report finds Middle East poised to become the world's dominant global travel hub

Amadeus today launches a report which finds the Middle East is on the brink of becoming the world's dominant travel hub. The report, Securing the Prize for the Middle East, sets out what the region should focus on to fulfill its potential as a dominant global hub. The survey warns against complacency and exposes the risks posed by a lack of coordinated pan-regional policies in regulation, investment and business operation.

• The number of tourists to the Middle East is projected to double to 136 million by 2020

• Dubai International Airport ranked 11th in passenger traffic in 2010


Madrid, Spain and Dubai, UAE, 13 December, 2010: Amadeus, a leading travel technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry, today launches a report which finds the Middle East is on the brink of becoming the world’s dominant travel hub. The report, Securing the Prize for the Middle East, sets out what the region should focus on to fulfill its potential as a dominant global hub. The survey warns against complacency and exposes the risks posed by a lack of coordinated pan-regional policies in regulation, investment and business operation.

Commissioned by Amadeus, the study was developed by Insights Management Consultancy, a leading business consultancy headquarted in Abu Dhabi, and h2c, a specialist consultancy in hospitality marketing and distribution solutions. Insights Management Consultancy is the Gulf & Middle East representative of h2c consulting services.

The factors enabling the Middle East to underpin the next wave of globalisation created by emerging economies such as China, India, Latin America and Africa are analysed in Amadeus’ report. These include the region’s geographic position at the centre of the major air routes; its continued economic growth compared with the G8 countries; and the major investments planned in the travel industry, including US$86 billion for airports. The region’s approach to innovation and technology adoption is also highlighted.


Investment in the travel, hospitality and aviation sectors will enable the Middle East to diversify its economy with plans to expand international, intra-region and domestic tourism. The number of tourists travelling to the Middle East is projected to double to 136 million by 2020 compared with 54 million in 2008. Religious tourism is likely to be a major new factor with Saudi Arabia generating more than US$7 billion in 2009 from visitors to Muslim pilgrimage sites and projecting visitor numbers to grow from over 12 million in 2009 to 15 million in 2013. The emergence of a new range of Low Cost Carriers will also support this trend.

The potential of innovation and new technology to underpin future growth is also discussed in the report. Strategic investment by the region’s airlines in new aircraft technology has already paid off strongly and the critical role of IT infrastructure is also considered.

The report also issues recommendations focused on the need for integration and transparency. This includes the creation of a common regulatory framework across the region covering visa regulations, immigration and air control. A call for greater financial transparency is made, particularly the need for the airline carriers to show their independence from government subsidy. The benefits for the major carriers to become members of global alliances, or to establish a Middle Eastern based code sharing agreement is also addressed.

“The Middle East already connects more major global destinations via a single flight than any other hub. This has been the result of aspiration, dedication and innovation from business and political leaders. This approach to strategic planning, ambitious investment and early technology adoption continues and the region is now poised to take an even greater competitive leap forward enabling it to lead the next wave of globalisation. The aim of becoming the world’s dominant travel hub by 2025 is within reach, but obstacles remain, the chief one being complacency,” said Antoine Medawar, Vice President, Middle East and North Africa, Amadeus.

“From a global perspective, the stagnation of existing global hub developments necessitates the development of new ones, and the Middle East would be the best

choice to create them. However, while the region benefits from assets such as strategic geographical location and strong GDP growth, it will still need to work hard to attract new

business and leisure travellers to the region. This report sets out clear factors that need to be addressed if it is to take hold of the significant opportunities and reach its goal of becoming the dominant global travel hub,” commented Mona Faraj, Managing Partner, Insights Management Consultancy.

The report is supported by interviews with senior executives in the travel and tourism industry, including the Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), Marriott and the Abu Dhabi National Corporation of Tourism and Hotels.

To download a copy of the report, please visit: www.amadeus.com/globaltravelhub

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About Amadeus

Amadeus is a leading transaction processor and provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel and tourism industry.

Customer groups include travel providers (e.g. airlines, hotels, rail, ferries, etc.), travel sellers (travel agencies and websites), and travel buyers (corporations and individual travellers).

The group operates a transaction-based business model and processed more than 670 million billable travel transactions in 2009.

Amadeus has central sites in Madrid (corporate headquarters and marketing), Nice (development) and Erding (Operations – data processing centre) and regional offices in Miami, Buenos Aires, Bangkok and Dubai. At a market level, Amadeus maintains customer operations through 72 local Amadeus Commercial Organisations covering 195 countries.

Amadeus is listed on the Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia stock exchanges and trades under the symbol “AMS.MC”. For the year ended 31 December 2009, the company reported revenues of EUR 2,461 million and EBITDA of EUR 894 million. The Amadeus group employs over 10,200 employees worldwide, with 123 nationalities represented at the central offices.

To find out more about Amadeus please go to www.amadeus.com.

To visit the Amadeus Investor Relations centre please go to www.investors.amadeus.com.

About Insights Management Consultancy
Headquartered in Abu Dhabi with representative offices in the UK, Insights Management Consultancy provides business consultancy services and representation for a wide spectrum of hospitality and service industry related clients. With over 20 years’ hands-on experience, Insights specialises in hospitality, tourism and service industry consultancy in the Arabian Gulf and wider Middle East.

Insights offers a range of tailored services including strategy, advice, training and administrative functions, providing their partners with a comprehensive understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities of doing business in the Middle East region. As vendor-free consultants, Insights offers unbiased and objective recommendations of regional and international suppliers when third party services are required.


Insights aims to give its clients 360-degree insights, both into the Middle East and international markets. That is why Insights has teamed up with world-leading specialists in research and distribution for the hospitality & tourism industries.

Insights Management Consultancy is the Gulf & Middle East Representatives of h2c consulting services.

About h2c
h2c consulting specialises in hospitality marketing and distribution solutions. Customised services such as strategy development, content optimisation, training, coaching and technology integration support are provided for increasing our clients’ profitability and effectiveness. Making the best use of e-commerce, web-marketing, traditional offline channels and the supporting central systems belongs to h2c’s core competencies. h2c’s expert team stands for unbiased industry insight, innovation, specialised solutions and distribution profitability. The company’s is committed to improve the client’s competitive positioning by aligning strategy, technology and processes for optimal performance.

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