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Tue 19 Nov 2019 02:06 PM

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Revealed: the importance of Indian tourists to Gulf markets

The number of Indian tourists travelling to the GCC is expected to increase by 81% to 9.8 million in 2024

Revealed: the importance of Indian tourists to Gulf markets

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 81 percent from 5.4 million in 2018 to 9.8 million in 2024, according to the latest report from Colliers International.

The report, which was produced in conjunction with Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2020, predicts that more than 20 percent of India’s total outbound market will travel to the GCC by 2024, with business, place of work and leisure underpinning demand.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, ATM, said: “ATM is witnessing this growth first hand, in 2019, 10 percent 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 percent or 40 million of the total Indian population and average real wages are 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 percent, according to the report.

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

Despite the UAE leading comparative growth, the report revealed that Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait are all expected to witness an increase of 10 percent 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 percent to reach more than 50m by 2022.

Indian tourists are among the world’s highest spenders while travelling abroad, with outbound travel and tourism expenditure to increase from $21.4 billion in 2018 to $39.3 billion by 2024.

On average, Indian travellers spent approximately $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 percent more per trip.

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