Britain is a major beneficiary of outbound travel from the Gulf region with visitors spending AED5.5bn in Britain from January to September 2012, already a 7% increase over the total spent in 2011.
Building on these figures, VisitBritain is hosting its annual sales mission in the UAE. The event will provide UK suppliers with an opportunity buyers for Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia with a 20% increase in UK suppliers and 37% increase in buyers over 2011.
The sales mission is promoting holiday destinations, tour packages and attractions from the UK, highlighting to regional travel agents value-for-money deals available to Middle East holidaymakers.
Dominic Jermey, HM Ambassador to the UAE said: “Tourism is a major contributor to the UK economy, accounting for 9% of UK GDP, and inbound tourism is our third largest earner of foreign exchange. Overseas visitors spend AED102bn a year in Britain and every AED227,230 spent by an overseas visitor sustains a job.”
VisitBritain also reports that by 2020 there is potential for the annual number of visits to Britain from the UAE to be 30% up on the record year of 2009, which welcomed 246,000 visitors. The latest statistics show that UAE visits were up 10% in 2012 compared to 2011. In past five years (2006 to 2011), Saudi, Qatar, and UAE are three markets that have shown an outstanding increase in visitor numbers at 60%, 59% and 36% respectively.