Record spend by GCC visitors in UK
Riyadh, February 11, 2014
The visits and spend by GCC travellers to the UK hit new records for the January to September period last year, the VisitBritain has said.
More than £1 billion was spent during the 452,000 total visits from the six GCC countries, it was revealed as VisitBritain hosted its annual GCC travel trade mission in Saudi Arabia for the first time this week.
The number of visitors to the UK from the GCC countries were up by 10 per cent during the period, compared to the same period in 2012. The total spend by the visitors increased 11 per cent, said the VisitBritain data.
VisitBritain’s GCC trade mission aimed to build on this growth, providing UK suppliers with the opportunity to meet more than 60 travel agents from across Saudi Arabia to promote holiday destinations, tour packages and attractions from all over Britain, highlighting attractive deals available to GCC holidaymakers in the lead up to the long summer break and school holidays.
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum & Tour will be among the suppliers attending the mission and Britain’s strong retail offering will be showcased by Westfield UK and Bicester Village.
The mission met travel agents at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh on February 10 and Le Meridian in Jeddah on February 11.
VisitBritain has invested heavily in ongoing tactical marketing across the GCC region as part of the 'Great' campaign. In December it signed a three-year, £2 million partnership with Etihad Airways to facilitate joint marketing activities and worked together with the UK Embassy and British Council in Qatar to showcase the collaborative work of UK and Qatari fashion designers for the 2013 Qatar-UK Fashion Exchange.
The most recent marketing activity in Saudi Arabia was a campaign with Qatar Airways held in shopping malls across the country throughout November and December last year to inspire consumers with the sights and sounds of Britain.
VisitBritain predicts that by 2020 Saudi Arabia will have the highest projected value percentage growth - 181 per cent - amongst the 20 major and emerging markets in VisitBritain’s tourism strategy. It is also among the top five most high-spending markets for Britain, with an average spend per visit of £2,354, whilst the overall average for all visitors to Britain is £600 per visit.
VisitBritain mission leader and marketing director Joss Croft, said: “We have ambitious growth targets which we are working tirelessly to achieve from across the GCC region. We’ve already partnered and launched campaigns with the top three airlines - Emirates, Qatar and Etihad - and our trade missions allow us to facilitate relationships with the people who help us sell the best of Britain.”
Annique Labuschagne, manager GCC markets at VisitBritain, said: “Britain is a tourism destination that offers experiences for every taste. From England to Scotland to Wales, we have a vast range of top attractions suitable for families, honeymooners and young travellers from the GCC. We are delighted to see more and more people from this region choose Britain as their holiday destination and are eager to explore the wealth of touristic attractions that are available across the country.” - TradeArabia News Service