UK sees jump in Gulf visitor numbers
Dubai , October 24, 2011
The GCC visitors to Britain are staying more nights and spending more money than in previous years, according to data from the UK’s national tourist authority, VisitBritain.
The UK government body not only measures quarterly the number of visitors but also how many hotel nights they stay, as well as the all-new, critical economic indicator – how much cash they spend, said a senior official.
Carol Maddison, manager, Middle East, VisitBritain, said: “The Gulf is a very important feeder market for British tourism, and always has been. What is so exciting now is that the size of the market has been shown to be really growing significantly, particularly affluent visitors with the capability to spend heavily while on the ground in Britain.”
The UAE visitor number grew 30 per cent in the first half over the same time last year to hit 100,000, said Maddison, citing UK tourism data.
The hotel room nights, she said, were also up 15 per cent over the same time last year, at 925,000 hotel nights.
According to Maddison, the UAE tourists spent around 110 million pounds ($175.4 million), up 13 per cent over last year.
With regard to Saudi visitors, the growth in 2011 was even more impressive, said the tourism official.
'The Saudi tourists numbers swelled to 40,000, up 67 per cent over the same time last year. Hotel room nights were up 154 per cent over the same period last year, at 537,000 hotel nights,' revealed Maddison.
Saudi visitors to Britain spent a whopping 136 per cent more than they had done last year, at 97 million pounds.
“This is an encouraging sign for tourism across Britain, and shows that the UK is very much open for business and making the most of the opportunity presented by hosting next year’s Olympics,” she added.-TradeArabia News Service