Nordic travel and tourism spend in the GCC expected to significantly rise

ATM 2020

According to data published ahead of the Arabian Travel Market 2020, Nordic tourists travelling to the GCC from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland are expected to generate approximately $810 million in travel and tourism revenue by the year 2024.

Research by Colliers International has predicted 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 increase, with tourism spend per trip to reach $2,088.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is expected to witness the second largest increase followed by Bahrain, with total Nordic tourism spend estimated to reach $86,670,000 and $53,000,000 respectively.

IMEX Frankfurt 2020

Exhibition director Middle East, Arabian Travel Market, Danielle Curtis declared: “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% between 2018 and 2019,” Curtis added.

Looking at Nordic outbound tourism figures, arrivals from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland to the GCC will rise 23 per cent over the period 2018 to 2024, driven by an increasing number of new and direct flight routes, relaxed visa requirements and the one-of-a-kind travel experiences the region has to offer.

Abu Dhabi and Saudi Arabia have been popular destinations for Norwegian business tourists for many years because of their joint interest in the oil industry, while for Swedish, Icelandic, Danish and Finnish tourists, the GCC region offers year-round sunshine.

According to Colliers International, approximately 383,800 Nordic citizens will travel to the GCC in 2024, with Swedish tourists leading the number of arrivals, totaling 191,900. Visitors from Denmark will follow with 76,700 arrivals, 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.
She continued: “Driving this demand in the UAE, Emirates Airline 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.”

The 2020 edition of ATM is scheduled to take place at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 19-22.