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Suppliers, operators and agents in the luxury travel sector are being urged to improve their marketing techniques to win the custom of growing middle classes in growth markets.

Industry leaders at Travel Weekly Group’s Connections event, held at the Yas Viceroy in Abu Dhabi (pictured), said a key challenge facing the supply chain was engaging consumers who are shopping for their first luxury trips.

Opportunities in the mature markets of northern and western Europe and North America are considered to be relatively limited when compared to potential riches in the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Gavin Brooking, chief executive of Excel Hotels and Resorts, said: “Countries across Asia will play an important role in the future growth of the luxury travel sector.

“China is, of course, an acute example. But there will also be excellent scope for growth across the markets of Latin America. This should not overlooked.”

Girish Seghal, general manager of the Taj Falaknuma Palace & Taj Group, based in Hyderabad, India, added: “We see the biggest prospect for growth coming from countries close to India.

“Places like Singapore and Indonesia are very exciting. However, not enough is being done to attract affluent customers from these new markets.”

Seghal admitted he has a fight on his hands to convince visitors to include Hyderabad in their itineraries, as most tourists are drawn towards the provinces of Rajasthan and Kerala.

Both agreed the Middle East remains one of the most fruitful marketplaces for the