VisitBritain recently wrapped up a series of meetings with its strategic partners and key market influencers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar to discuss Britain’s tourism growth strategy for the GCC Region.
VisitBritain’s director of strategy and communications, Patricia Yates, alongside regional manager for Asia Pacific and Middle East, Sumathi Ramanathan, met with officials from the UK Embassies, British Council, UK Border Agency and UK Trade and Investment as well as decision makers in the travel and tourism industry in Riyadh and Doha.
The GCC markets are becoming increasingly important, representing 22% of the total spend from Asia Pacific and Middle East countries. Michael O’Neill, HM ambassador to Qatar, said: “It was great to see the increase in visitor numbers in 2012. We want that growth to continue. We will continue to work on practical steps for that, including seeking ways to improve visa arrangements.”
Tourism plays a major role in the UK economy. It contributes approximately AED656bn to UK GDP, and provides employment for 2.6 million people. In 2012, the UK received approximately AED106bn into the economy from overseas visitors, of which AED6.8bn came from the GCC countries.