Gulf Cooperation Council Source Tourism Insight by Domestic and Outbound Tourism, Key Destinations and Tourist Profiles, 2024 Update

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Explore thorough market trends and insights from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Source Tourism’ report:

  • Get an in-depth analysis of traveler flows and spending patterns to understand the market better.
    • The report looks at tourist profiles and summarizes the key reasons that they travel.
  • Garner exhaustive data on the main and developing destination markets across regions.
  • Stay up to date with current and future opportunities for tourism businesses seeking to tap into the GCC outbound travel market.
  • Assess the impact of COVID-19 on domestic and outbound tourism markets.

How is our Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Source Tourism’ market report unique from other reports in the market? This report provides:

  • Clear insight into the developments within the GCC’s domestic and outbound tourism markets.
  • Data and analysis to discuss future trends related to domestic trips, international departures, traveller spending, and main destination markets.
  • In-depth analysis of traveler flows, spending patterns, main destination markets, and current and future opportunities for tourism businesses seeking to tap into the GCC outbound travel market.
  • A strong understanding of the opportunities in the country, as well as the risks, to support better business decisions.

We recommend this valuable source of information to anyone involved in:

  • ​​Tour Operators and Travel Agencies/OTAs/Event Planners
  • Entertainment, Recreation and Holiday Planners
  • Hospitality Industry – Leaders and Startups
  • Strategy, Marketing, and Business Development
  • Market Intelligence and Portfolio Managers
  • Professional Services – Investment Banks, PE/VC firms
  • M&A and Investment Consultants
  • Management Consultants and Consulting Firms

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GCC Source Tourism Report Overview

The total outbound trips in GCC was 7.9 million in 2022. The GCC consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) source tourism market research report provides an in-depth analysis of source markets and infrastructure developments. The report also offers a comprehensive understanding of the GCC source tourism market dynamics through opportunities and challenges analysis. Furthermore, a detailed evaluation of the types of travelers will help in understanding the propensity of the demand side.

Key Segments ·        Domestic Tourism

·        Outbound Tourism

Key Tourism Types ·        Sun and Beach Holidays

·        Visiting Friends or Family

·        City Break Holidays

·        Cultural Holidays

·        Adventure/Sport Holidays

·        Gastronomical Holidays

·        Multi-Stop Trip Holidays

·        Eco Holidays

·        Cruise

·        Wellness/Medical Holidays

·        Religious Holidays

·        Wedding Related Holidays

·        LGBTQIA+

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GCC Source Tourism Market Dynamics

In 2023, GCC tourist spending reflects dynamic trends across domestic and outbound travel. Domestically, the highest shares of expenditure are allocated to accommodation, transportation, and retail, highlighting a focus on enhancing the overall travel experience. Transportation is expected to account for more than $9 billion by 2027.

On the outbound front, GCC countries display a significant rebound in spending, growing by more than 50% YoY in 2023. Saudi Arabia stands out as the leader in total outbound expenditure. This is attributed to its large population, higher disposable income, and cultural inclination toward travel, particularly for pilgrimage. The allure of upscale travel experiences propels Saudi tourists to invest in luxury airlines, top-notch accommodations, and exclusive packages, contributing to an overall increase in outbound tourism expenses.

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GCC Source Tourism Market Segmentation by Segments

Domestic tourism led the market in 2023

The key segments included in the GCC source tourism sector are domestic tourism and outbound tourism. The GCC domestic travel displays a promising outlook owing to a resurgence in leisure travel.

GCC travelers exhibit a preference for leisure activities such as sun and beach vacations, cruises, gastronomy, and adventure. Furthermore, the overall tourist flow is notably influenced by climatic conditions, Islamic holidays, and pilgrimages such as Haj.

GCC Source Tourism Market Analysis by Segments, 2023 (%)

GCC Source Tourism Market Analysis by Segments, 2023 (%)

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GCC Source Tourism Market Segmentation by Types

Sun and beach holidays were the most preferred holiday type in the GCC source tourism market in 2021

A few of the common tourism types in the GCC tourism market include sun and beach, visiting friends or family (VFR), city break, culture, and adventure/sport, among others. The sun and beach vacation type held the highest market share by the tourism types, followed by VFR in 2021. With its extensive coastline and warm climate, the GCC area is a popular choice for holidaymakers looking for a winter sun destination. Other popular sun and beach destinations include Türkiye, Egypt, Jordan, and Thailand, which are frequently visited by travelers from the GCC.

GCC Source Tourism Market Analysis by Tourism Types, 2021 (%)

GCC Source Tourism Market Analysis by Tourism Types, 2021 (%)

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GCC Source Tourism - Opportunities and Challenges

Increased focus and investment in tourism is one of the major opportunities for the GCC source tourism market. Hence, many countries within the GCC have defined tourism as a central pillar for future economic development, and this includes domestic tourism and intra-regional tourism. For instance, the Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan.

Geopolitical instability is expected to challenge the growth of the tourism sector in GCC as it affects travel conditions, visitor numbers, and media portrayals of the region. Thus, it is significant for destinations to place safety as a top priority, highlight their internal stability, expand their tourist attractions, and encourage collaboration among neighboring regions.

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Qatar Airways
Etihad Airlines

Table of Contents


GCC tourist profile

Domestic tourism

Outbound tourism

Main and developing destination markets

Opportunities and Challenges


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