The Caterer
Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

Visits to Britain by Gulf tourists up nearly 10%

07 September 2010

The number of tourists visiting Britain from the Gulf region has shot up by almost 10% in one year, with most coming to London, according to a new report by VisitBritain.

The tourism body said that the draw of fashion and luxury goods not available at home, as well as the chance to watch one of Britain's Premier League football clubs, were some of the main reasons that 494,000 people from the region made the trip to the UK in 2009.

Other key reasons for Britain's surge in popularity were the country's growing reputation as a safe, well-organised country, with polite, approachable people, and relatively low levels of theft and fraud. The more temperate climate was also seen as a bonus compared with the searing 45°C summer heat in Saudi Arabia, for example.

The phenomenon also coincided with increased interest in the country from Gulf region investors. Qatar Holdings, the state-owned investment fund, owns the Harrods department store. And Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, is spending hundreds of millions of pounds on Manchester City FC in a bid to transform its fortunes. Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company recently bought the ExCel exhibition centre in London.

When would-be Gulf tourists were asked where they would most like to visit, Malaysia had a slight edge over Britain as a destination because of its rich scenic beauty. Britain's closest rivals are, in order of precedence, France, Thailand, Singapore and the USA.

Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain said: "The number of visitors coming to the UK from the Gulf region has jumped significantly in the past year, partly thanks to a sustained push by VisitBritain to sell the UK as a travel destination. It is very good news that travellers from the region are increasingly attracted to our reputation as a safe, welcoming and friendly country with lots of sights, activities, adventures and entertainment to enjoy."

Visit Britain's research was based interviews with two focus groups in each of four countries: Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. All the people surveyed were nationals and were both male and female aged between 25 and 55 with and without children. The researchers also conduced 400 brief interviews, 100 in each country.

Hey, big spenders:
Average tourist spend in Britain: £554
â- Gulf tourist spend in Britain: £1,733
â- Gulf tourists as percentage of all tourists to UK: 1.7%
â- Gulf tourists' total spend in 2009: £856m
â- Gulf tourists' spend as percentage of total tourist spend: 5.2%

Does Cameron really back tourism? >>

VisitBritain launches Welcome to Britain campaign >>

Tourism can save economy, says Cameron >>

By Neil Gerrard

E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to jobs

Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with jobs

[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking