DUBAI: Buoyed by the consistent strong growth of Middle East’s aviation, the travel catering industry is attracting an increasing number of international companies keen on exploring business opportunities in the sector.
The Middle East is estimated to record a strong annual growth of 5 per cent and see an extra 258 million passengers a year on routes to, from and within the region by 2035, according to the latest statistics from International Air Transport Association (IATA). This growth will further propel opportunities in the aviation sector, especially in the travel catering segment, which has been witnessing continuous expansion and numerous innovations to cater to the changing expectations of air passengers amid a highly competitive environment.
The 4th edition of the World Travel Catering and Onboard Services Expo Middle East (WTCEME), the largest dedicated platform for the travel catering industry in the Middle East, Africa and Indian Sub-Continent, will provide an ideal platform to travel catering players from across the world to network and showcase a wide range of products, services, solutions and technology.
Co-located with the Airport Show 2017, WTCEME, held under the Patronage of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, will take place from May 15-17, 2017, at Zabeel Hall 6 in Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC).
Daniyal Qureshi, Group Exhibition Director, Reed Exhibitions Middle East, said: “WTCEME is a much sought after platform by travel catering companies worldwide as it provides an ideal opportunity for buyers and sellers to tap into the rapid growth in the travel catering segment in the Middle East. Due to this strong interest, the 4th edition of WTCEME will be the largest ever. As the Middle East’s aviation sector witnesses a strong growth, and the region continues with major investments and initiatives to boost tourism, the interest, especially from global players, is bound to continue rising.”
According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the Middle East is estimated to record a strong annual aviation growth of 5 per cent and the total market size is projected to be over 414 million passengers by 2035. The UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia will all enjoy strong growth of 6.3 per cent, 4.7 per cent, and 4.1 per cent respectively.
This growth will trigger the region’s travel catering requirements as well as the products, services and solutions to cater to the rising number of passengers.
The Middle East region commands a big chunk in the global travel catering market, estimated at $15 billion and expected to increase to $17.6 billion by 2020. The region’s share in the global travel catering market has been fast rising above the global average growth of five per cent due to massive expansion of airports and airline networks.
Senaka Bandaranayake, Manager Product Development (Product Development & Air Taxi), SriLankan Airlines Ltd, said: “Today, with Dubai opening up to being the gateway encompassing the aviation industry including convenient and easy access from anywhere in the world, WTCEME provides the airline industry an excellent opportunity to “touch the present and see the future” including and importantly eco-friendly products.
Attending WTCEME could make it a game changer for an airline in product or services.
Matthieu Roussel, Sales Director Catering, Delta Dailyfood Canada, a major food company specializing in the manufacture of frozen and pasteurized meals and snacks, said: “The travel catering industry in the Middle East has a strong potential and we see great growth, which is why we consider WTCEME as an important platform for our participation. We are also eager to showcase our latest offerings as we keep developing new flavors and recipes.
Arda Cenk Tokbas, the General Manager of HDF FZCO, the regional office of Pinar Food & Beverage Group, said: “The growth potential for this sector in the Middle East is promising and we are keen on reaching airlines and catering companies for business opportunities.”
Exhibitors at WCTEME will also benefit from access to over 7,500 aviation related trade visitors who attend the Airport Show and GALF conference.
The expo will showcase a wide range of travel catering services and solutions, including food, snacks, beverages, food packaging, processing, preparation and preservation equipment, tableware and chinaware, accessories, toiletries and travel amenities.
The expo’s visitors will include chefs, consultants, food & beverage managers, health & safety managers, in-flight service managers, operations managers, procurement managers, production managers and purchasing managers from airports, hospitality, airlines, charter and business jet operators, cruise operators, flight catering and large scale catering companies.