UAE travellers spent $262m while visiting US

US holidaymakers are buoyant about their spending habits despite the global crunch

DESPITE the economic environment, US visitors to the UAE contributed $733 million to tourism revenues in 2008, up 85 per cent from 2007, according to the new Tourism Outlook: USA report from Visa.

The report indicated that the average purchase amount for travellers from the US while visiting the UAE was $139.69.

At the same time, Emirati travellers spent $262 million on their Visa branded payment cards while visiting the United States in 2008, a 49 per cent increase over 2007. In 2008, Visa cardholders from around the globe spent more than $53 billion on their Visa payment cards while visiting the US. Other top contributors to the US tourism economy included Canada ($15.3 billion), United Kingdom ($4.7 billion), Japan ($3.1 million) and Mexico ($2.5 billion).

Tourism Outlook: USA also analysed traveller attitudes and intentions, based on a survey of 11 key source markets for international tourism. Key findings concluded that international travellers are fairly resilient. Only one in four are less willing to travel now compared to one year ago due to the socio-economic climate. And, 23 per cent are more likely to travel internationally.

There were still affected by the economic environment as 83 per cent could adjust their international travel plans, while 52 per cent will opt for travel during of -peak seasons and 33 per cent will choose destinations where the cost of visiting is less.

'For businesses that rely on tourism, data such as the Tourism Outlooks is vital, particularly considering the current economic climate and external events that have had an impact on tourism,' said Bill Sheedy, president, North America at Visa. 'This data enables businesses to improve their offerings and marketing strategies to ensure that they appeal to travelers around the globe.'

Kamran Siddiqi, general manager, Visa MENA region said, 'Travel and tourism are key revenue streams for Visa and it is important for us to understand the travel habits of our cardholders. In turn, this allows us to continue to offer value added travel rewards to our cardholders and enhance the experience, convenience and security of traveling with a Visa card.'

The report found that travellers around the globe preferred to make electronic payments – 55 per cent of respondents reported they prefer to use credit cards while travelling, with the next most popular form of payment being cash (20 per cent).

The US resident outbound market, totaling 63.6 million travellers, declined by one per cent in 2008 compared to annual 2007 figures, the first decline since 2002.