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GCC set to spend $56bn on tourism infrastructure by 2022

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) capital investments in tourism infrastructure are expected to reach $56 billion by 2022, with the UAE ranked the most competitive in the region, driven by the development of multiple revolutionary transport projects such as Hyperloop, according to new research.

Colliers International said lightening-speed, innovative Hyperloop train systems combined with the Haramain High Speed Railway, the development of airports in Saudi Arabia and airport expansion in the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait will help to transform tourism infrastructure development in the GCC.

The research comes ahead of the Arabian Travel Market 2018 on April 22-25 where tourism infrastructure will feature heavily.

Hyperloop and future travel experiences will kick off proceedings on ATM’s Global Stage on April 22. Moderating the session, Richard Dean, a UAE-based business broadcaster and presenter will be joined by a host of high-profile panelists including Sir Tim Clark, president, Emirates Airline, Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), and Harj Dhaliwal, managing director Middle East and India Operations, Hyperloop One.

Virgin Hyperloop One, a futuristic transportation concept through which pods, propelled by magnets and solar, will move passengers and cargo at speeds of 1,200kph, is the most prominent tourism infrastructure development in the UAE at present.

Backed by Dubai-based DP World, Hyperloop One has the potential to transport approximately 3,400 people an hour, 128,000 people a day and 24 million people a year.

In November 2016, Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) announced plans to evaluate a hyperloop connection between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which could reduce travel times between the two emirates by 78 minutes.

Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM said: “Providing a hyperloop connection that allows both UAE residents and tourists to travel between Dubai and Abu Dhabi in just 12 minutes is just the beginning. In the future, other emirates and indeed other GCC countries could also be linked, with journeys between Dubai and Fujairah as low as 10 minutes and Dubai to Riyadh in 40 minutes.”

Airport and cruise terminal expansions, improved domestic inter-city road and rail work and the growth of low-cost airlines will keep the GCC at the forefront of tourism infrastructure and innovation, he added.

Air passenger arrivals to the GCC are forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.3%, from 41 million in 2017 to 55 million in 2022, Colliers said in its research.

It added that in Dubai, cruise tourism is expected to grow over the next two years as the emirate targets the arrival of 20 million tourists a year, ahead of Expo 2020. During the 2016/2017 season, Dubai welcomed 650,000 cruise tourists with this figure forecast to increase to one million by 2020.

Expansion works at DP World’s Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal at Mina Rashid are expected to contribute to this growth. Set to be the largest terminal in the world, the facility is capable of handling 18,000 travelers every single day.

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