The International Passenger Survey (IPS) data provided by the Office for National Statistics, show that the tourism figures for GCC has broken records as 723,773 visited and £1.59bn spent in Britain in 2015.
Out of all visits to Britain from the GCC, the UAE recorded the highest volume with 347,000 visits in 2015, (up 34%) on 2014. Saudi Arabia followed with 147,000 visitors (2%) increase on 2014, Kuwait with 104,000 visitors (up 3%) on 2014 and Qatar with 76,000 visitors (25%) increase on 2014.
In terms of spend; Saudi Arabia saw the biggest percentage increase in spend (52%) over 2014 – making the kingdom the highest spending market in the GCC with £556m. Spend growth from Qatar followed a similar pattern, with Qatar visits seeing a (25%) increase in spend on 2014.
VisitBritain has prioritized the GCC with multiyear campaigns, initiatives and activities to drive Britain’s visitor attraction programme under the Dunes to Britain series.
Sumathi Ramanathan, Director Asia Pacific, Mid East & Africa said “Britain has been setting tourism records for the past decade. The GCC is one of the fastest growing markets in terms of visitor numbers and spend and Britain is firmly placed among the top three European destinations for tourism.’’
In 2015, VisitBritain launched the Great Britain GREAT Moments campaign in the GCC. The digital marketing campaign kicked off in July 2015 with a nine-month digital and social media programme that inspires people through snapshots and videos of special moments experienced by social media celebrities from the region. The aim was to encourage visitors to explore more of regional Britain and find their own amazing moments.
There are ever more reasons to visit Britain in 2016, including England’s Year of the GREAT English Garden, Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, Wales’ Year of Adventure, 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, , Film-inspired holidays and much more to keep your appetite.