In the Middle East and North Africa, tourism is a strategic lever for the diversification of oil-based economies.
Today, the region is welcoming approximately 90 million international arrivals per year, which equates to 6% of the world’s total arrivals. Spanning more than 15 countries, the region’s natural, heritage, cultural, and religious tourism assets appeal to virtually all traveler segments.
Yet, some destinations benefit from distinct local priorities and a more mature tourism ecosystem. Destinations such as Egypt, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi have established themselves on the global tourism map, while others are reinforcing their positioning and even emerging as novel destinations.
Our expertise in the Middle East’s travel and tourism space runs both wide and deep. We work with governments and authorities to articulate and implement their national and regional tourism strategies and frameworks—as well as public and private sector clients to design, develop, activate, promote, and manage destinations. Built on experience serving prominent clients and developing flagship travel and tourism projects, our team possesses unmatched capabilities and an in-depth understanding of the sector landscape, dynamics, and trends across the region.
When a major investment fund decided to develop a destination island in the Middle East, Strategy& was asked to help design the concept.
Strategy& first assessed the host region and took a close look at other benchmark destinations. An analysis of source markets and visitor characteristics was also conducted to determine targeting and consumer preferences. From there, Strategy& developed the island’s concept including retail, beach, outdoor, and cultural activities. To finalize, the team tested the details with focus groups and developed financial forecasts.
The concept and implementation roadmap were both approved by the investment fund’s board of directors and the island is currently in development.
Strategy& was retained by a major investment fund to assess the viability of the cruise sector and define its strategy.
The Strategy& team first confirmed the attractiveness of the region to the cruise ecosystem and estimated the cruise demand across different target markets. The team assessed potential destinations, estimated cruise traffic, and articulated an infrastructure and destinations upgrade plan. Strategy& defined the cruise line strategy and developed its business plan, which also covered details for vessel acquisition and deployment.
The board of directors approved the strategy and a cruise company was established to manage infrastructure and destinations upgrades, as well as launch the cruise line.
A tourist destination in the Middle East had the ambitious goal of transforming into a “Green Tourist Destination” and commissioned Strategy& to help develop the strategy.
Strategy& first analyzed the destination’s existing carbon emissions, water supply, solid and liquid waste, waste management practices, and biodiversity. The team then conducted a cost-benefit analysis and made recommendations for 14 holistic programs that could achieve a “realistic green” scenario, while also offering a framework for financing the green initiative.
The sustainability strategy developed by the team at Strategy& was presented and approved to move forward.
Strategy& was asked by a GCC government agency focused on aviation to support the activation of a one-stop digital platform for all travel services.
The Strategy& team first defined a clear objective for the digital platform—namely to offer tourists one central online location where they could connect with all travel suppliers including hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators. The team then designed the platform’s operating model, including the overall functional architecture and the required modules of the core technology.
Once the design was developed, Strategy& helped the agency select a vendor and trade partners, create marketing materials, and activate operations.
Fasten your seat belts for accelerated growth in tourism - Marwan Bejjani's panel discussion at FII's 6th edition
Post-pandemic tourism is booming. Leaders in the field of tourism and hospitality got together at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) 6th edition in Riyadh to discuss how the entire tourism ecosystem can achieve and sustain hyper-growth.
Watch this panel where Marwan Bejjani, Partner at Strategy& Middle East, and Nicolas Mayer, Partner at PwC Middle East, talk about industry trends and opportunities.