Middle East visitors integral to US$363 billion UK tourism growth forecast

ABU DHABI, This year’s Arabian Travel Market, ATM, a sister event of the World Travel Market London, will provide the perfect platform for UK destinations, hotels and attractions, as well as regional outbound tour operators, as Middle East travellers are expected to play a key role in the UK’s continued tourism growth.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the total contribution of travel and tourism to the United Kingdom is forecast to reach US$363.77 billion, or GBP290.9 billion, by 2026.

In 2015, the most recent official full year figures available, the UAE set a new record for overseas consumer spending in the United Kingdom when receipts from 347,000 arrivals increased 12 percent to reach US$608.99 million.

“This will rise further as visitors take advantage of the low exchange rate following last year’s Brexit vote. The UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, a shock result triggering a fall of over 10 percent in the value of sterling against the US dollar, providing Gulf visitors with added value,” said Simon Press, Senior Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 24th – 27th April.

“The UK is a close partner of the UAE and wider Middle East region, in both tourism and trade, welcoming more than one million visitors from January to October 2016, a year on year increase of 4 percent.

“The UK will also have strong representation at Expo 2020, as the seventh country to announce its participation. As the fourth largest industry, hospitality and tourism is a lynchpin of the UK economy, currently representing 10 percent of GDP, or around US$178.82 billion,” added Press.

“The numbers speak for themselves. While Britain has enjoyed a long and rich history of hospitality and heritage, the new conditions have created a favourable opportunity for the UK in the midst of significant economic uncertainties.”

Some of the UK-based exhibitors already committed to participating at this year’s ATM include AVIS Budget EMEA Ltd, CitySpeed Tours, Digital Trip Ltd, Hertz MEA, Conxxe, JAC Travel LTD, Let’s Travel Services Limited, Miki Travel Limited, Oceandusk Group, RATEGAIN TECHNOLOGIES LIMITED, Rocco Forte Hotels Ltd, The Travelbook Group, Travco Corporation Ltd., Travellanda, Traveltek Ltd, and Chic Outlets.

Source: Emirates News Agency