KSA No. 1 market for Spain

Spain recorded a whopping 56 per cent increase in the number of visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region in comparison to the 2019 numbers, according to the data released for 2023 by Turespaña at their recent roadshow in the GCC. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recorded the highest growth in visitor arrivals among the GCC countries.

TT Bureau

In 2023, Spain experienced a record-breaking year for tourism from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, with a 33 per cent increase compared to 2022 and a 56 per cent increase compared to 2019. These numbers have been recently published by the National Statistic Authority of Spain. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recorded the highest growth in visitor arrivals among the GCC countries, with more than 100 per cent increase between 2019 and 2023 and a 92 per cent increase between 2022 and 2023; the total number of Saudi tourists has surged up to 182,000, surpassing UAE as the main GCC market for Spain, and consolidating its status and the country’s vision for 2030. The UAE, Qatar and Kuwait followed with the trend.

The total number of GCC residents visiting Spain in 2023 reached 434,000, with an average stay of 8.6 days and a notable increase in expenditure. Factors such as good weather, family-friendly environments, and cultural resonance, including the great Arab legacy attract GCC travellers to Spain.

Looking ahead to 2024, Spain aims to further consolidate its position as the top destination for the Middle Eastern travellers through marketing campaigns, strategic alliances and multiple events. In line with this, Spain Tourism recently concluded a successful roadshow across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE, showcasing various regions and offerings of Spain to travel trade partners. The event facilitated networking and collaboration opportunities, emphasizing Spain’s commitment to providing unforgettable experiences for the Middle Eastern travellers.

Commenting on the success of the roadshow, Daniel Rosado, Director/ Tourism Counsellor at Spain Tourism, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “We are delighted with the positive response and engagement we received during our roadshow in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. These regions hold immense potential for Spanish tourism, and our collaboration with travel trade partners has strengthened our commitment to providing unforgettable experiences for Middle Eastern travellers.”

Namratha Rose, Manager – Marketing & Trade Relations, Turespana, said, “We are delighted to wrap up a triumphant sales mission across the GCC! These networking events are invaluable, fostering deeper connections and understanding within the travel trade. Engaging with stakeholders face to face enhances product comprehension and solidifies partnerships. Through these interactions, we gain insights, align strategies, and ultimately elevate our industry’s standards.”

The roadshow aligns with Spain Tourism’s broader strategy to foster international partnerships, expand its reach, and enhance the global visibility of Spain as a premier travel destination. The collaboration between Spanish partners and travel trade professionals from the Middle East marks a significant step forward in promoting cross-cultural exchanges and fostering mutual growth within the tourism industry. Additionally, Spain Tourism organised its first polo tournament on 10 February, bringing together travel trade professionals and polo enthusiasts in a relaxed networking environment. The event highlighted the elegance and premium aspects of Spanish culture, including equestrian activities, sports and experiences contributing to the promotion of Spain as a diverse and attractive destination.

Fall in love with Andalusia!

Juan Manuel Ortiz Pascual, Executive Manager, Andalucia Tourism, said, “Our focus this year is for our GCC travellers to fall in love again with Andalucia! We experienced a good growth from the GCC last year, but we want them to come and see our new offerings and experiences in Granada, Malaga and Marbella especially this year. We have many experiences from sports activities and events to other recreational activities for the whole family. I was able to speak with the travel trade during the roadshow all that is new in Andalucia. GCC travel trade is extremely important to us and we have a good understanding between us as I have been travelling to this region for the past 13 years. We always go one step further for our guests from the GCC as they have become our most frequent visitors.”

Turespana or Spain tourism in the GCC has been conducting various events across the past year and the latter part of last year saw their focus on bringing more sports related activities which has a very good attraction from this market with SailGP and now with the polo tournament. Spain was one of the first countries to open and welcome travellers when the borders opened after the pandemic. Spain tourism in GCC has been proactive becoming one of the most visited countries by GCC travellers. The numbers have skyrocketed from this region with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates heading the board with 100 per cent and Kuwait and Qatar with 80 per cent.

Rosado reiterated, “Today we had the first ever polo tournament in Dubai, we wanted to showcase all the different sports related experiences that Spain can offer as Spain is a country that has many events with horses which is related to the GCC market, as they too share the passion for those same sporting events. Horses have become the main communicator between Spain and Arab countries for centuries and this is something that we want to highlight this year. Our focus is also to provide a whole new range of experiences for all travellers from the GCC. From sports tourism to experiences with nature, gastronomy, art, and culture we are looking at diversifying the experiences for this region. Number of travellers from the GCC have grown exponentially over the past few years and in 2022, the 2019 numbers were surpassed in GCC countries. Travel trade in the GCC is most important to us and we take extra special care to provide them all the information and assistance needed and conduct events if this nature so that our partners from Spain can have a very good rapport with them and make use of the opportunity to take it to the next level.”

Check Also

Ajman focuses on emerging markets

Post Views: 321 Ajman has become one of the emerging destinations in the UAE catering …