According to Colliers International data, published ahead of the fast-approaching Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020, Nordic tourists travelling to the GCC from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland are expected to generate an estimated $810 million in travel and tourism revenue by 2024.
The research, commissioned by organiser ATM, Reed Travel Exhibitions, predicts that the UAE will witness the highest growth, with total tourism spend by Nordic visitors projected to reach $718 million by 2024, representing a 36 per cent rise compared to 2019, and tourism spend per trip to reach $2,088.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to witness the second-largest increase followed by Bahrain, with Nordic tourism spend estimated to reach $86,670,000 and $53,000,00 by 2024, respectively.
Exhibition director – Middle East, Arabian Travel Market, Danielle Curtis commented: “The Nordic countries’ outbound tourism market has experienced incremental growth over the last five years, with 50.5 million overseas visits made by residents during 2018 alone.
“And, with Nordic citizens enjoying one of the highest average incomes in the world and being amongst the world’s highest spenders while travelling abroad, the GCC is looking to capitalise on their spending power over the next five years.
“Adding to this, ATM is witnessing this growth first-hand with the number of delegates, exhibitors and attendees interested in doing business with these countries, increasing by 35 per cent between 2018 and 2019,” Curtis added.
From the years 2018 to 2024, arrivals from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland to the GCC will jump by 23 per cent – a result of new and direct flight routes, relaxed visa requirements and the many travel experiences on offer.
Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia have been key to Norwegian business tourists for many years due to their joint interests in the oil industry, while for Swedish, Icelandic, Danish and Finnish tourists, the UAE and wider GCC region offer year-round sunshine.
According to Colliers’ research, approximately 383,800 Nordic citizens will travel to the GCC in 2024, with Swedish tourists leading the number of arrivals, totalling 191,900. Visitors from Denmark will follow with 76,700 arrivals, closely followed by Norway, Finland and Iceland with 62,800, 47,200 and 5,200 arrivals, respectively.
Curtis noted: “The UAE will continue to be the preferred GCC destination for Nordic tourists, welcoming a projected 342,200 tourists by 2024. Saudi Arabia and Oman will follow with 17,300 and 16,500 respectively, while Bahrain well welcome 7,000 and Kuwait 800.
“Driving this demand in the UAE, Emirates currently operates direct flights to Norway, Denmark and Sweden and last year introduced a direct flight to Iceland, following the closure of low-cost Icelandic carrier WOW air. Meanwhile, Norwegian Air operates direct flights between Oslo and Dubai five times a week and flydubai has direct flights between Dubai and Helsinki in Finland,” she concluded.