GCC spends record $27bn on travel


GCC residents spent a whopping $27 billion on travel last year, breaking the world record for staying in first-class hotels and splashing out on average twice as much as Europeans, a report said.

GCC residents made 8.8 million trips abroad in the year, said a World Travel Monitor report.

Out of this, Saudi Arabia accounted for 4.8 million, the UAE 1.6 million, Kuwait 1.3 million, Bahrain 400,000 and the others totalled 700,000.

As much as 199 million nights were spent abroad by GCC residents and on average they spent $135 a night. This was almost double the European level of $88. On average, GCC residents spent $1,814 on a trip compared to the average European's $836, said a report.

The Middle East was the most popular destination for GCC residents, making up 3.2 million of the 8.8 million trips. The second most frequented destination was South Asia with 2.2 million followed by North Africa, 1.2 million, the report said.

Holidays accounted for 54 per cent of the trips, 33 per cent were leisure and 13 per cent were business. Business travellers from the region made 1.1 million trips and spent $3.3 billion. The average cost for a business trip last year was $2,000, said the report.

GCC residents set a world record having 70 per cent of travellers stay in first-class hotels.