A Signature Media Publication

GCC visitors on an increase to UK in 2016


Visitors to the UK from KSA, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain totaled 659,466 in 2016, an increase of 6.6%, amounting to almost 5,000 more visitors than the previous year. This data was released by Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which is scheduled to be held at Dubai World Trade Centre from 22-25 April 2018.

The UK welcomed over 350,000 visitors from the UAE; more than 150,000 from KSA; over 100,000 from Kuwait and just under 50,000 from Bahrain, which included nationals as well as expatriate residents.

Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, ATM, said: “The average spend per trip to the UK by visitors from KSA, UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain, per person, ranged from US$1,150 to US$3,153 in 2016. With a choice of 32 weekly direct flights to the UK, visitors from Saudi Arabia alone spent US$485 million in 2016, the highest average spends per visit of any of the UK’s source markets. Because GCC currencies are pegged to the US dollar, (Kuwait’s dinar is pegged to a basket of currencies including the US Dollar and the Euro) outbound travellers from the GCC to the UK continue to take advantage of the dollar to sterling exchange rate. In June 2015, the UK pound was worth US$1.59, today it is around US$1.33, a fall of over 16%.”

The report was conducted by Colliers International. As per the report, London is the most popular destination in the UK, recording almost 3.5 million room nights, compared to 3.9 million for the rest of England, 321,000 in Scotland, 215,000 in Wales, and almost 12,500 in Northern Ireland, in 2016.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), total contribution of Travel & Tourism to GDP was GBP209 bn, 10.8% of GDP in 2016, and is forecast to rise by 2.2% in 2017, and to rise by 2.3% pa to GBP268.4bn, 11.4% of GDP in 2027, by which time international tourist arrivals are forecast to reach over 54 million generating expenditure of GBP42bn, an increase of 3.8% pa.