Latest data published ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020 revealed that Indian visitors to the GCC are expected to increase 81 per cent, from 5.4 million in 2018 to 9.8 million in 2024, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10 per cent.
As destinations throughout the Middle East prepare to showcase their latest offering at ATM 2020, held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 19-22, Colliers International (ATM’s official research partner) predicts more than 20 per cent of India’s total outbound market will travel to the GCC by 2024, with business, place of work and leisure underpinning this demand.
Exhibition director ME, ATM, Danielle Curtis elaborated: “This influx of Indian visitors to the GCC shows no sign of abating, with every reason to believe India will maintain its position as a top source market as the region prepares to welcome an estimated increase of 81 per cent by 2024, providing a significant boost to the region’s tourism industry as we look ahead.
“This projected growth is being supported by a number of key stakeholders in the region, from immigration initiatives and megaevents to hotels, F&B venues, resorts, theme parks and malls – all of which appeal to Indian travellers,” she added.
In 2018, the UAE welcomed 2.89 million Indian tourists with this figure expected to reach 5.29 million by 2024, increasing at a CAGR of 11 per cent.
Adding to this, India retained its top spot on Dubai’s list of source markets for inbound tourism, with almost one million Indian tourists arriving in the emirate during the first half of 2019.
Despite the UAE leading comparative growth, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait are all expected to witness an increase of 10 per cent respectively between 2018 and 2024.
Curtis noted: “Driving this growth is a new generation of leisure attractions in the GCC, relaxed visa regulations for Indian nationals, additional airline routes, increasing business opportunities, a renewed focus on Indian weddings and the MICE segment, as well as the increasing popularity of adventure and eco-tourism in countries including the UAE and Oman.”
Last year, Indian tourists accounted for approximately 26.1 million of total outbound trips made, with reports from the UNWTO estimating this figure will increase by 92 per cent to reach more than 50 million by 2022.
Indian tourists are among the world’s highest spenders while travelling abroad, with outbound travel and tourism expenditure to increase from $21.4 billion in 2018 to $39.3 billion by 2024.