Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market
According to ATM’s research partner, Colliers International, as many as 8.3 million EU residents will travel to the GCC in 2023, an additional 1.9 million travellers when compared to 2018 arrival figures.
Historically, Europe and the GCC have enjoyed excellent travel and tourism links and this trend is set to continue over the next four years.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia are expected to continue to be the preferred GCC destinations for European tourists, welcoming a projected 6.15 million and 1.11 million visitors respectively by 2023. Oman will follow with 720,000 visitors, while Bahrain will welcome 310,000 and Kuwait 140,000.
Looking at the outbound market potential, GCC travel to EU countries is expected to grow by 50 per cent with 6 million GCC residents projected to visit Europe by 2023.
The Colliers data indicates that Saudi Arabia will lead this growth with 2.98 million KSA residents travelling to Europe in 2023, followed by 1.73 million UAE residents, 600,000 Kuwaitis, 340,000 Bahrainis and 210,000 Omanis.
While part of this growth can be attributed to the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s large expatriate populations, GCC nationals are no strangers to European destinations, its culture and history – as well as its retail and luxury hospitality offerings.
Saudi Arabia is predicted to retain its position as the largest outbound travel market destination in the GCC, with an additional 1.2 million trips forecasted per year by 2023 – a 70% growth on 2018 trips. Driving this growth will be the rising spending power of both millennials and females in the Kingdom.
According to the Colliers research, the UK, France, Switzerland and Sweden will be the top European destinations for GCC nationals to visit, with the UK expected to account for 890,000 trips by 2023.
In the UK, Brexit has weakened the British Pound providing an additional incentive for Gulf tourists, while the relaxation of tourist visa requirements and GCC residents’ growing interest in medical tourism is encouraging travel to countries such as Switzerland and Sweden
Reed Travel Exhibitions, organiser of the annual Arabian Travel Market (ATM) showcase in Dubai, has announced the launch of Arabian Travel Week – an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows.
The success of both ATM and ILTM Arabia has provided us with the platform to not only introduce two new events for 2019 – but to create a travel week which encompasses the Middle East’s inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism and luxury travel as well as providing a dedicated networking forum for the region’s top airline specialists, aviation authorities, tourism boards, airports and tour operators.
Building on these figures, we are confident Arabian Travel Week will be a key driver in bringing top international destinations to the attention of the Middle East’s travel trade and consumers and equally, marketing the Middle East to strategic overseas tour operators and travel professionals.
Arabian Travel Week provides a renewed focus for the Middle East’s Travel and Tourism sector – under one roof over the course of one week – shining a spotlight on Dubai, the UAE, GCC and of course the wider MENA region’s burgeoning hospitality industry.