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Dubai, UAE, 30 July 2018: The requirement for'Festival Tourism' has skyrocketed, with regional favourites such as Dubai Summer Surprises (UAE), Dubai Shopping Festival (UAE) and Janadriyah (Saudi Arabia) ranking high in the list -- according to Wego, the top online travel marketplace in the Middle East and Africa.
"Today's international travellers are willing to spend that extra cent to experience the magic of seasonal, music, cultural, as well as shopping festivals," said Mamoun Hmedan, Wego Managing Director for MENA and India. "It is the Gen-Y's penchant for unique and authentic cultural experiences and human-interactions that compels their interest to attend festivals -- halfway around the world."
The Middle Eastern Festive Pull
Speaking specifically of the Middle East, Hmedan said that local festivals like Dubai Shopping Festival continue to draw tourists from across the globe.
Throughout the Dubai Shopping Festival this year, Wego seen a rise in flight searches for Dubai of around 20 percent, as compared to the identical period this past year.
"Mega and household festivals, for example Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS) and Abu Dhabi Summer Festival are a fantastic way to raise the nation's tourist attraction during off-peak seasons," he added.
Other GCC countries are also working towards boosting their allure, as destinations for festival tourism, both inside the area in addition to internationally. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for one, is keen on popularizing its own share of ethnic festivals including cultural fests of Janadriyah and Souq Okaz and the Jeddah Summer Festival.
Music Festivals Top the Charts
According to the Wego spokesperson, music festivals are among the greatest international travel motivators of the recent times. It's extravaganzas such as Tomorrowland in Belgium, Exit in Serbia, Mawazine in Morocco, Jerash in Jordan and Coachella in the USA who have popularized the idea of travelling to the sound of music.
In the past couple of decades, a sharp increase in travel hunts to the host nation has been seen from the months preceding leading music festivals. For instance, England, that hosts biggest variety of music festivals in the world, watched a 20% growth in music tourism in 2016 -- based on research by UK Music.
"Music festivals are able to successfully attract a high number of tourists and even surpass some of the major sporting events concerning presence," explained Hmedan. "Since we live in an era of'if it's not on social media, it did not occur', the new-age traveller attempts to create memories in such musical events and share them online with friends"
The Lure of Off-Beat Festivals
To keep up with the trend, travel suppliers have already started to offer bundles to off-beat destination festivals such as the Sarawak Rainforest Music Festival at Borneo, Air Guitar World Championships in Finland and the Hornbill Festival, in the north-east of India.
Additionally, classic cars races and festivals (especially across the UK) are growing in popularity amongst the world's auto aficionados and sport enthusiasts. Mounting interest in culinary tourism also contributes to more tourists planning their holidays around food festivals such as the Dubai Food Festival, UAE; Pizzafest at Naples, Italy; Maine Lobster Festival in Maine, USA and Thailand's Vegetarian Festival.
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