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UAE tourists second in spending after Australia

altTourists to the UK from UAE stand second in spending after visitors from Australia, it was learnt on Wednesday. UAE tourists spent Dh1.61 billion (£305 million) in 2009 compared to Australians who spent £846 million, according to figures released by the International Passenger Survey, Office for National Statistics. The survey also revealed that while Middle Eastern tourists comprise three per cent of visitors to the UK, UAE ranks third in the number of tourists after India and Australia.
“In terms of tourism numbers coming from this country, we were lucky and unlucky last year,” said Carol Maddison, Manager of VisitBritain. “Sterling went down and there were a lot of good deals to entice tourists, so a lot of people from this market travelled over to enjoy the cheaper rates. But on the other hand, we were affected by the swine flu as Arab travellers were more reluctant to take their families,” she added.
It is for this reason that VisitBritain is targeting UAE visitors by introducing luxury and classic campaigns designed especially for them. “Because of the affluent population, what we’re trying to push here is money can’t buy experiences such as unique spa visits to the Dorchester, afternoon tea at the Ritz etc,” said Maddison. However, she added, there are more and more travelers from the UAE that are looking for value for money. “Getting more for your money is becoming more and more important. This has come up in the last 18 months as people are anxious about their jobs, stability and don’t want to spend as much as in the past.” She feels that Britain may lose business to other GCC and Islamic countries since several airlines are offering competitive pricing.

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