By Sarah Williams
In Q1, Americans were the biggest spenders, above the Chinese, Russians and Saudis
Tourists from USA spent the highest of all nationalities to the region, at 21% of total spend-per-stay – a full 9 points ahead of the next highest spend group, Saudi Arabian nationals, as the number of Russian visitors continues to decline.
Overall, spending by tourists to the UAE has risen by 5% in Q1 of 2015, according to Network International, a payment solutions provider which tracks spending. The company processed more than 550 million transactions in 2014, amounting to AED83 billion in acquiring volume.
The third and fourth biggest spend tourists were by UK (9%), China (4%) and Kuwait (3.4%).
The Rouble decline has had a major impact on spending by Russian tourists in the UAE, which dropped by 52% in Q1, taking Russia out of the top five spenders list for the first time in recent history.
And despite coming in the top five, Chinese tourists’ spending is down by 7% on the same period last year.
Even though they spend the most for their entire visit, Americans spend the lowest average amount on hotel restaurants and meals, with the Chinese still willing to spend the most on hotel restaurants.
Chinese travellers also spend the most on jewellery and watches, with an average spend of AED13,000. Americans, Russians and Swiss tourists take up the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place spend on these items, respectively.
Russians and the Chinese spend the most on fashion with average transaction sizes three times those of traditional fashion capitals of France or Italy.
GCC states top the charts with their spending on meals: KSA, Kuwait and Qatar, each of whom spend 60% more than an average person per meal (average ticket size of AED 180).
David Mountain, chief commercial officer, Network International, said: “Each of these spending behaviours provides useful insight on market segmentation and positioning to retailers in the UAE. However, when looked at through a geopolitical lens, movements in currency and the affluence of nations, the data presented can have profound effects on different markets.
This provides valuable data for not only merchants and businesses but also for the Government in assessing the continuing appeal of the UAE to international visitors.”For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Someone seems to have got this wrong. Just because you see card spends denominated in USD as a currency isn't an indication that they are all American tourists! Tourist from across the globe can get travel cards which have the primary currency in USD, and this article is far from reality! Saudis, British, Indian, Chinese could definitely be in the top 5. But Americans cannot be in the top 5 category let alone be the top tourist spenders! Where do you see them in the malls, the streets, the tourist spot!
perhaps it has a lot to do with the fact from one of AB previous reports that Dubai has become too expensive.
More than likely these are Americans using credit cards from their US bank accounts in the UAE, not tourists, but residents, which have been estimated at around 50,000. I would think that GCC tourists, who look to Dubai for being a more regulated and organised market than at home, would spend a lot in the UAE as tourists. After all, during 2008 they never stopped coming, but continued to keep Dubai as a vibrant tourist market. The Chinese, who are the number one tourists in most destinations, would probably have higher tourist numbers in Asia and might visit Dubai once than move on to other destinations. What's key here is that when I fly into Dubai as a resident, very few people get off in Dubai, but are using Dubai as a transit point which is valuable information for Emirates Airlines.