Saudi Arabia
[Credit: Arabian Travel Market - ATM - in Dubai]

UAE and Saudi Arabia travel trends to boost GCC tourism

UAE: Al Rais Travel, the official DMC partner of Arabian Travel Market [ATM], has highlighted the latest trends supporting the growth of the tourism industry in the United Arab Emirates [UAE], Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council].

According to the insights from Al Rais, Dubai is seeing an uptick from key source markets, with visitor numbers from the UK and China continuing to rise.

Mohamed Al Rais, deputy managing director at Al Rais Travel, said: “Brand Dubai is trusted by people around the world. The country has rebounded incredibly well since Covid-19, with the latest figures for the first half of 2023 the best on record. As a travel company, our figures are very much representative of this. In terms of inbound markets, we’ve seen the top five markets shuffle to some extent, with Saudi dropping slightly and increases in British tourists.

“The return of the Chinese market, which, despite only coming back in Q1 of this year, has already moved into a top five position,” he added.

The trends have been revealed through the latest figures released by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism [DET].

According to the latest statistics from DET, Dubai’s top source markets include India, which has seen a 44 per cent increase between January and August 2023 compared to the same period last year; Saudia Arabia, which has seen a nominal five per cent decrease during the same period; the UK, up 14 per cent; and the Chinese market, which according to the data has witnessed a 309 per cent jump in the first eight months of 2023 when compared to the same period in 2022.

Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s minister of economy, announced earlier this week that a single common GCC tourist visa will be introduced by 2025, allowing for seamless travel between the Gulf States, simplifying travel and boosting tourism in the region. The GCC is made up of six countries – the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.
“The opportunity this affords not only the UAE and Saudi, but the whole of the GCC, is visitors who qualify will be able to travel to any country in the GCC and tour with ease, benefiting tourism in all countries,” said Al Rais.
The 2024 ATM theme, ‘Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’, and the UAE Tourism Strategy 2031, have been developed to support the development of the country’s tourism industry.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Arabian Travel Market, said: “There are many examples of exhibitors seamlessly aligning with our show’s overarching theme, which is further underscored by the impactful contributions regional tourism entities have in
pioneering innovative approaches to propel the industry into the future. As a platform, our mission is to amplify the voices of industry stakeholders, shedding light on their diverse initiatives spanning environmental sustainability, cutting-edge technology, accommodation solutions, and transportation innovations.”
The 31st edition of ATM [6-9 May 2024] will host policymakers, industry leaders and travel professionals from across the Middle East and beyond, encouraging them to forge new relationships, exchange knowledge, and identify innovations that can reshape the future of global travel and tourism. From startups to established brands, the upcoming show will highlight how innovators enhance customer experiences, drive efficiencies, and accelerate progress towards a net-zero future for the industry.

Building on ATM 2023’s ‘Working Towards Net Zero’ theme, environmentally responsible travel will represent a key focus during the show’s upcoming edition.

As part of the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and with the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference [COP28] taking place in Dubai between 30 November and 12 December, ATM 2024 will explore how innovation can be leveraged to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] by building a greener travel and tourism sector for future generations.

ATM will be held at Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, and is part of Arabian Travel Week between 6-12 May.

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