Luxury travellers are making the sustainable switch

Danielle Curtis

According to figures from Grand View Research, the value of the global luxury travel sector stood at an estimated $1.28 trillion in 2022 and the market is expected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.7 per cent during the period 2023-30. This upward trend is reflected in the Middle East where the majority of respondents from both the UAE and KSA (69 per cent) told researchers from Marriott Bonvoy that they were planning to spend more on their vacations compared to previous years.

With access to greater financial resources, luxury travellers are becoming increasingly mindful of their choices. A case in point is the UAE where high-spending travellers are increasingly interested in experiences that are sustainable and do not negatively affect the communities or ecosystems in which they are located, as revealed by YouGov’s recent Global Travel and Tourism Whitepaper (2023) which found that 61 per cent of UAE residents are willing to pay a premium for responsible, eco-friendly and sustainable tourism experiences. This indicates that luxury travel is no longer limited to indulgence, but also includes conscious consideration of the environment and local communities.

When deciding on a destination to visit, luxury travellers are now taking into account a variety of factors beyond just the usual attractions. These factors may include the eco-friendliness of their lodgings, the availability of options for offsetting their carbon footprint, the hotel’s commitment to preserving the local environment, and the potential for their trip to have a positive impact on the surrounding communities. All of these considerations are important for conscientious travellers who want to minimise their impact on the environment and contribute to sustainable tourism practices.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which takes place from May 6 to 9 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, will feature a diverse selection of luxury travel exhibitors from across the Middle East and beyond. Building on last year’s theme ‘Working Towards Net Zero, environmentally responsible travel will be explored at ATM 2024, looking at how innovation can be leveraged to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), creating a greener travel and tourism sector for future generations. 

Over the past year, the Middle East has maintained and strengthened its reputation as a global hub for luxury tourism and travel. It’s exciting to see this segment evolve throughout the region as national leaders continue to invest in the development of luxury tourism infrastructure to drive economic diversification. The upcoming ATM 2024 event will offer an excellent opportunity to delve further into the industry’s key trends, with responsible tourism becoming an increasingly exciting area for the luxury travel industry to watch.

* The writer is Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market