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Published on : Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The first WIT Middle East is set to uncover the region’s travel story and reveal the opportunities and promise of one of the world’s wealthiest regions and share stories from local and global players all wanting a slice of this market.
Founder, WIT, Yeoh Siew Hoon commented: “We’re pleased to bring our signature conference to the Middle East. It’s the next new frontier in online travel and it is a huge travel market for Asia, both as a source of travellers and as an inbound destination.
He added further: “We’ve had requests from the industry there that a WIT-like event is needed to spark innovation and entrepreneurship and we’re glad to be working with a local partner, Dubai-based BizGate Marketing and Consultancy, to bring this catalyst to the region and to ensure we layer global content with local characteristics.”
WIT was launched in 2005 in Singapore to bring thought leadership around the dynamic and changing online travel space. Since then, WIT editions have been held in Indonesia and Japan and it has held workshops and events across the region, including Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.
According to a PayPal report conducted with Ipsos on the MENA region, there are 110 million Internet users in the region, with 30 million already shopping online. The study projects that online spending in MENA will grow from $9 billion in 2012 to $15 billion by 2015.
The study also found that travel is the biggest item bought online, with an average $1,521 spent each year.
It revealed that the United Arab Emirates is the largest e-commerce market in the Middle East, with consumers spending $2.9 billion online last year, and that the market for the entire region is expected to grow.
“The WIT Middle East programme will blend global insights with local knowledge to create a learning platform that’s tailored to the needs of the Middle Eastern market. We will do what we love to do – spark learning and inspiration, blend seasoned voices from industry leaders with new ideas from start-ups and students and build an engaged community around our content,” said Siew Hoon.
Dubai-based BizGate, a marketing and consultancy firm specialising in travel and leisure, will co-manage WIT events in UAE, then KSA and Turkey in the following years.
“We are very delighted to be working with the reputed team of WIT in launching this event in the region. This reflects our commitment to bridge the gap of the industry’s need for information and knowledge on online travel’s fast-paced trends,” commented coordinator, sales and marketing, BizGate Marketing and Consultancy, Angeline Rivera.