Business travel expenditure in the Middle East is forecast to rise by 32 per cent this year following a predicted 49 per cent increase during 2021, according to a recent report by the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

“This positive data will provide a welcome boost for business travel and tourism professionals throughout the Middle East region, as economies around the world begin to relax travel restrictions, despite the disruption caused by the outbreak of the Omicron variant,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which at this year’s event (May 9-12) will turn the spotlight on the business travel sector in several conference sessions.

“During 2021, the increase in business spending for the full year is expected to have actually outpaced spending on leisure travel by 13 per cent, 10 per cent and one per cent in the Middle East, Europe and Africa respectively.”

In terms of business travel spending in 2021, the WTTC report, compiled in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, ranked the Middle East region first with an increase of 49 per cent, followed by Europe and Africa (36 per cent), Asia Pacific (32 per cent) and the Americas (14 per cent).

In 2022, Asia Pacific region will lead spending growth with 41 per cent, followed by the Americas (35 per cent) the Middle East (32 per cent), Europe (28 per cent) and Africa (23 per cent).

The future of the business travel sector will be among the topics discussed at ATM, with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) joined by industry experts on the event’s Global Stage to lead two sessions entitled: ‘The future of business travel’ and ‘Building a sustainable business travel programme’.

ATM, now in its 29th year, will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre.