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ATM 2020: Indian travellers spur GCC tourism growth

ATM 2020: Indian travellers spur GCC tourism growth

Colliers International has released research predicting more than a fifth of India’s total outbound market will travel to the GCC by 2024 – with business, place of work and leisure underpinning this demand.

The figures were released ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2020.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Middle East, 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 per cent by 2024, providing a significant boost to the region’s tourism industry as we look ahead.

“Arabian Travel Market is witnessing this growth first-hand, in 2019, ten per cent 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 three per cent, or 40 million, of the total Indian population and average real wages set to quadruple between 2013 and 2030.”


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, according to Colliers International.

Despite the UAE leading comparative growth, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait are all expected to witness an increase of ten per cent 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 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 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 per cent more per trip.

More Information

Arabian Travel Market is considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector.

This year’s event welcomed almost 40,000 people, with representation from 150 countries.

The 2020 show will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 19th-22nd.