The UAE emerges as Middle East’s top location for destination weddings
The destination wedding industry in the Middle East continues to register steady growth and is presently worth around $4.5 billion, with the UAE emerging as the top destination for weddings in the region.
These are among the findings of a survey conducted by Dubai-based event organizer QnA International at the 5thannual Destination Wedding Planners (DWP) Congress, which took place recently in Los Cabos, Mexico.
According to the survey – which was conducted among wedding planners across all geographic regions – the Middle East accounts for 5% of the global destination wedding industry which is valued at $90 billion, with the UAE ranking among the top five destinations for couples in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to further cement its position as a hotspot for destination weddings.
The survey reveals fascinating insights into the global destination wedding industry, including, for example, the often wide variations that characterize wedding budget allocation and the number of invitees across the geographical regions surveyed.
Whereas destination weddings in Europe and the Americas are typically a small and intimate affair attended by no more than 50–200 guests, the guest list ranges anywhere from 300 to 1,000 for weddings organized in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Interestingly, while the average number of weddings organized each year by wedding planners in the Middle East is lower than the corresponding figure for the Africa region, the average cost of a Middle East wedding is significantly higher, ranging between USD 400,000 and USD 3 million compared to a budget range of between USD 300,000 and USD 500,000 for the average African wedding.
The survey also throws light on specific trends shaping the destination wedding industry in the Middle East, such as the rising demand for experiential weddings and the shift toward personalizing wedding celebrations. Choosing the right venue, delays in visa applications processing, vendor sourcing, and lack of a timely response from suppliers were identified as the main challenges facing wedding planners in the region.
Speaking on the survey results at the 5thannual DWP Congress, Sidh N.C., Director, QnA International, said, “As the only global study on the destination wedding industry, this survey provides a rare window into the trends and forces influencing the wedding tourism market in different geographic regions. The results have been very interesting, and it’s encouraging to see the UAE make further progress in establishing itself as a hotspot for destination wedding. We believe that tapping into the massive potential of wedding tourism can help the country move closer towards achieving the ambitious tourism goals laid out in its ‘UAE Vision 2021’ initiative.”
The DWP Congress is an exclusive, ‘by invitation only’ conference that is focused on luxury destination wedding professionals who are looking to collaborate with like-minded mavens in the wedding business to glean fresh perspectives, do business and network with some of the top creative partners and suppliers from all over the world.