Following the release of official figures, VisitBritain has announced that the year 2017 was a record year for tourism from the GCC, with the UK having welcomed 812,000 visits from the region – up by five per cent on the previous year.
According to the data, GCC travellers spent an impressive $2.8 billion, up 55 per cent on 2016, marking a new record.
Tricia Warwick, who has been appointed the permanent director of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions for VisitBritain, commented on the results: “The GCC is a significant market and a huge tourism opportunity for VisitBritain. It is fantastic that more people than ever are travelling to Britain and enjoying experiences that you cannot get anywhere else, from world-class shopping and personal shopping experiences, fine-dining in Michelin star restaurants, luxury sporting and heritage breaks, contemporary culture and vibrant cities, to beautiful countryside and globally renowned historic sites and museums.”
Warwick continued: “Britain is offering great value for visitors from the GCC; it ranks number one for GCC outbound destinations by overnights visit volume in Western Europe, and we are working hard with partners including tour operators and airlines to make it easier to book and explore more of the country, inspiring visitors to travel right now.”
Keen on stimulating numbers from this market, VisitBritain is working hand in hand with a number of partners spanning the region, such as Wego and Etihad Airways. The group aims to broaden its market reach and encourage bookings, while highlighting how accessible the destination is for GCC travellers and promoting England’s regional destinations.
Earlier on in the year, VisitBritain launched the ‘Find Your GREAT Britain, I Travel For…’ digital campaign, in order to further inspire the GCC market to consider the UK as a top travel destination. The campaign entails short films and story-telling, which lift the veil on Britain’s unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations, as well as its renowned landmarks and attractions.