Luxury Travel & Retail | An Insight Breakfast with the Chalhoub Group
Tourism into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has grown considerably in recent years, as the region shifts its focus from oil dependence and continues to rapidly develop its retail, hospitality, entertainment and cultural offerings. As a result, the Middle East is expected to more than double its number of arrivals over the next two decades, from 61 million to 149 million, a growth pattern which is set to continue as more human and capital resources are invested, with the implications for retailers remaining vast.
Reflecting on this, Walpole members came together at The Dorchester on Wednesday 22nd May for breakfast and an insightful key note and panel discussion to launch the Chalhoub Group’s new white paper: ‘Luxury Travel & Retail: What does the future hold for the GCC?’ Key themes explored in the report include the habits and demands of today’s evolving traveller, their aspirations, the adaptation to create a positive tourism environment, and what the future holds for both the luxury and hospitality sectors in the GCC.
During the event, highlights of the white paper were presented by Patrick Chalhoub, CEO, and Angelica d’Andlau, Head of Corporate Communications at the Chalhoub Group, followed by a panel discussion with Patrick Chalhoub; Derrick Hardman, MD of Global Blue; Matteo Atti, EVP Marketing & Service Innovation at VistaJet; and Ian Grice, Head of Personal Shopping at Harrods; and moderated by Jayne Rafter, Publisher, RLI – Retail & Leisure International, who looked at the trends in the GCC and shared insights into Middle Eastern customers in the UK.
Key topics explored during the highly informative discussion included:
How to create positive and inviting tourism environments
The role of government enterprise in the expansion of tourism
The introduction of events to increase regional footfall
The growth of theme parks to form a new tourism sector
Creating culturally connected and historic sites that attract travellers
Establishing how sustainable product alternatives can create an eco-conscious niche
In addition, Patrick Chalhoub discussed trends in religious travel, cruise tourism and how existing luxury properties are responding to and simultaneously creating growth across the tourism and retail sector.
“The tourist is a captive audience for retailers because part of travel involves discovery, browsing, shopping, getting inspired, experiencing, sharing and discussing. As retailers we have to make sure to provide visitors and guests all they are seeking such as great curation, inspiring windows, incredible service, unique products, unbelievable experiences which will delight them.”
– Patrick Chalhoub, CEO, Chalhoub Group