Arrivals from Europe to the GCC will increase by 29% over the period 2018 to 2023, driven by new and direct flight routes, a growing number of millennial and middle-class travellers and competitive air fares. These observances are made as per the latest data released ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2019, which will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May 2019.
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.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “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.”
Driving this demand in the UAE throughout 2018, Emirates introduced new flights to London Stansted, Edinburgh, Lyon and Paris; Etihad to Barcelona; flydubai to Catania, Thessaloniki, Krakow, Dubrovnik, Zagreb and Helsinki; and Air Arabia to Prague.
While in Saudi Arabia, new routes to destinations including Vienna and Malaga were added during the same period.
Looking at the outbound market potential, GCC travel to EU countries is expected to grow by 50%, 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.
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,” Curtis added.
ATM 2019 will welcome more than 100 European exhibitors to the show, with names such as Armani Hotel Milano, the German National Tourism Board, Port Aventura World, the National Tourism Organisation of Serbia and the Austrian National Tourism Office as well as various new exhibitors including Belarus National Tourism Agency, Moscow Committee for Tourism and Montenegro National Tourism Organisation.
Brand new for this year’s show will be the launch of Arabian Travel Week, an umbrella brand comprising four co-located shows including ATM 2019, ILTM Arabia, CONNECT Middle East, India & Africa – a new route development forum and new consumer-led event ATM Holiday Shopper. Arabian Travel Week will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 27 April – 1 May 2019.
About Arabian Travel Market (ATM)
Arabian Travel Market is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2018 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, with representation from 141 countries over the four days. The 25th edition of ATM showcased over 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre. Arabian Travel Market 2019 will take place in Dubai from Sunday, 28 th April to Wednesday, 1 st May 2019.
To find out more, please visit: www.arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com