European travelers to drive Gulf tourism recovery with arrivals expected to reach 13.3 million by 2024

European travelers are set to become a key source market for the Gulf region, especially Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which will help their post pandemic tourist industry recovery. Countries in the GCC include the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain and they all offer a good range of flight options and a varied tourism product, which appeals to European travelers, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s latest report, ‘Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Tourism Destination Market Insight’, reveals that in 2019 pre-pandemic arrivals from Europe to GCC countries reached 11.8 million tourists. In 2020, arrivals collapsed to 3.9 million due to the pandemic, a 67% year-over-year (Y-O-Y) decrease, however, post-pandemic arrivals are forecasted to recover to 13.3 million tourists by 2024, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5%.

Gus Gardner, Associate Travel and Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Given the high levels of growth expected from European travelers arriving in GCC countries over the next three years, they will be a key driver of the regions tourism recovery from COVID-19. One country of particular importance to the region is the UK as GlobalData’s latest forecasts show that UK arrivals to GCC countries will reach 3 million by 2024 a CAGR of 21.7%.’

UK travelers have always been attracted to GCC countries as they offer a diverse tourism proposition for summer and winter sun, with stunning beaches, sprawling cities and adventure activities. The opulence and status of Dubai with luxury hotels and the lavish experience it has to offer is also popular with UK travelers.

Gardner adds: “Countries across the GCC have plenty to entice Europeans, with a mix of activities from the traditional beach holiday to the cultural experience provided by the regions traditions and history. This will help it to regain its popularity quicker than those destinations that only offer a city break experience.”

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