Tourism Outlook in the UAE
Saudi tourists among the biggest spenders on the planet
Visa has prepared its latest “Tourism Outlook: UAE” report, comparing tourism receipts from across the UAE in 2010 and 2011, in order to provide a unique insight into where and how international visitors are spending their money. The report reveals that Saudi Arabia is the fastest-growing GCC country when it comes to Visa account holders spend in the UAE.
According to this year’s report, Saudi Arabia’s spending shot up 73.8 percent, with a total 1.1 million transactions made on Visa debit and Visa credit cards in the UAE during 2011. Only Angola recorded a higher growth rate internationally at 89.1 percent. This growth resulted in a total spend of $326.3 million, making visitors from the Kingdom the fourth biggest spenders, just behind the UK, Russia and the US.
Saudi Arabian visitors to the UAE spent the most on accommodation (up 80.1 percent to $127 million), followed by expenditure in the category of “other retail) (up 62.6 percent to $94.1million), and “other travel and entertainment,” which was up a staggering 90.5 percent to 21.8 million.
Ahmed Gaber, Country Manager for Visa in Saudi Arabia, said: “This report highlights the ongoing appeal of the UAE as a destination for Saudi travelers, as well as underlining the importance of Saudi as a source market of considerable income for the UAE tourism industry.”
International spend saw huge growth across a number of sectors, including “steamships and cruise lines,” which recorded the greatest year-on-year growth with a staggering 641.2 percent increase – from $9,000 in 2010 to $69,581 in 2011. Department stores (35.77 percent), “other retail” (35.52 percent), and “other travel and entertainment” (31.30 percent), were also among the fastest-growing categories among global tourists.
Visa Country Manager Gaber said: “This report highlights the ongoing appeal of the UAE as a destination for Saudi travelers, as well as underlining the importance of Saudi as a source market of considerable income for the UAE tourism industry.
“As one of the world’s largest retail electronic payments network, Visa is in a unique position to provide insight into where and how visitors are spending their money. Our proprietary processing network allows us to analyze Visa data to identify global tourism spending insights and provide useful market data and intelligence to businesses to improve product offerings and marketing strategies that can best attract visitors and strengthen tourism competitiveness.”