GCC to witness 81% rise in Indian tourists

Number could touch 9.8 million tourists in 2024

India retained its top spot on Dubai’s list of source markets for inbound tourism, with almost 1 million Indian tourists arriving in the emirate during the first half of 2019
India retained its top spot on Dubai’s list of source markets for inbound tourism, with almost 1 million Indian tourists arriving in the emirate during the first half of 2019

The number of Indian tourists travelling to the GCC is expected to increase by 81% from 5.4 million in 2018 to 9.8 million in 2024, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10%, latest data published ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020 revealed.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “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% 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 mega events, to hotels, F&B venues, resorts, theme parks and malls – all of which appeal to Indian travellers.

“ATM is witnessing this growth firsthand, in 2019, 10% of the total buyers at the show were from India. In terms of potential, we are only scratching the surface as the Indian middle class represents just 3% or 40 million of the total Indian population and average real wages set to quadruple between 2013 and 2030.”

Adding to this, India retained its top spot on Dubai’s list of source markets for inbound tourism, with almost 1 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% respectively between 2018 and 2024.

“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,” said Curtis.

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% 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 US$21.4 billion in 2018 to US$39.3 billion by 2024.

On average, Indian travellers spent approximately US$1,100 per trip made to the GCC in 2018, according to the latest data from Euromonitor International, with business and experience-seeking tourists likely to spend at least 15% more per trip.

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