Spending by overseas visitors to Great Britain is predicted to reach £24.1 billion ($31.2 billion) in 2017, an 8 per cent increase on spending this year.
We spoke to Sumathi Ramanathan, director Asia Pacific, Mid East & Africa, Visit Britain, for further insight.
Can you share the latest inbound tourism figures from the GCC into Britain?
There were 777,000 inbound visits from the GCC to the UK in 2016, up 7 per cent on the same period in 2015.
What has been the highest average daily spend in 2016 and does it look to grow this year?
In 2016, the average spend per night by visitors from the GCC was £150 ($194.5). VisitBritain’s forecast for 2017 shows that the average spend per night for all inbound visits to the UK is set to increase this year, however, we don’t have a forecast for spending from the GCC specifically.
What are the top three nationalities in terms of average daily spend?
The top three countries in terms of average spend per night in 2016 were Bahrain (£172/$224 average spend per night), UAE (£159/$206 average spend per night) and Kuwait (£155/$202 average spend per night). We measure this based on country of residence as opposed to nationality.
Where does the GCC (and the wider Middle East) stand when compared to global feeder markets for GB this year?
The GCC market is the third most valuable market in our global ranking. This importance is reflected by VisitBritain becoming the first Western tourism board to establish an office in Saudi Arabia.
Are you noticing any new travel behaviour in travellers from the GCC that you didn’t see last year?
Growing interest for regional travel outside of London, such as Edinburgh. This is matched with demand for seasonal travel, in particular, winter experiences such as the Christmas markets and the great retail sales at this time of the year.
What are the key destinations/experiences you are focusing on promoting in the GCC this year?
London remains on most visitors’ bucket list, but for those that are repeat visitors we encourage you to rediscover London by visiting the different outer neighbourhoods and the areas beyond; such as Oxford, Cotswolds and Bath. The GCC also offers strong air capacity and through the ever-growing open jaw proposition, GCC visitors can experience more than one destination and have access to the six strategic gateways within the UK – including London (Heathrow/Gatwick), Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
How is the BritAgent programme doing? Any updates?
The new Discover London Areas module is now available on the BritAgent training platform. The module showcases the best trade products available across different outer neighbourhoods of London to help you sell exciting experiences of the capital to your clients. From the green landscapes and historic buildings of Greenwich in the south to the vibrant and trendy atmosphere of Shoreditch in east London. Discover the lively music scene of Camden Town in the north and the quiet tranquillity of the riverside village of Richmond in the west.
If you have one regional message for the consumers and trade this year, it is….
Go for a combined city and country experience. Have a city experience in London, but then experience the beautiful culture and countryside in areas such as Oxford, Cotswolds and Bath.
Are you tapping into any ‘new’ feeder markets this year?
South-East Asia and Africa markets.
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.