Aviation Industry to grow in Middle East

With loads of tourists in the Gulf, flocking to the coast of Oman rather than usual holiday destinations it is one more sign that the boom in the aviation industry in the region will continue despite the changing travel trend in the Middle East, said experts.

Tourists in the region are visiting other destinations such as Oman, Turkey and Dubai, but travelers will always fly more often and will return to their usual destinations eventually. It just takes time said the Air Arabia CEO Adel Ali, who has organized the Aviation and Media Summit for 2013.

The opportunities along with the challenges faced by the tourism and aviation industries were showcased this week during a summit held in Salalah, a small city in southwestern Oman.

At the summit over 70 representatives from the media and experts in aviation from throughout the region gathered at the event.

The rise of tourism within the region which includes Dubai along with other atypical destinations like Abha in Saudi Arabia and Salalah, does not mean countries in North Africa such as Jordan and Lebanon are no longer in favor, said Ali.

Ali also believes that instead of seeing the normal vacations that are a month long, travelers will begin to start traveling on holiday for shorter durations of up to four days to even more destinations.

Ali added, while on a conference panel, that even amidst the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia the drop off in tourism failed to affect the aviation industry in the same way.

Expats that flew from their home countries to check on their relatives and their property amidst the turmoil was a trend that helped the aviation industry to maintain growth.

One example of that was Lebanon. Tourism fell by 12% over the first five months of this year, but passenger counts at the commercial airport were up nearly 10%.

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