Turespaña, the Spain tourism office for the GCC unveils 2023 figures

The region has experienced an unprecedented increase of outbound tourists to Spain

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Published: Mon 12 Feb 2024, 5:00 PM

In 2023, Spain witnessed a remarkable surge in tourism from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, marking a 33 per cent increase compared to 2022 and an impressive 56 per cent rise from 2019. These statistics, recently disclosed by Spain's National Statistic Authority, underscore a significant trend in Gulf tourists' preference for Spanish destinations.

Notably, Saudi Arabia emerges as a standout example of this growth, with an unprecedented 100 per cent increase from 2019 to 2023 and a remarkable 92 per cent surge from 2022 to 2023. The influx of Saudi tourists reached an impressive 182 thousand, surpassing the UAE and solidifying its position as Spain's primary GCC market, in alignment with the country's vision for 2030. Following Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait also contributed to this upward trajectory in GCC tourism to Spain.

In 2023, the total number of GCC residents visiting Spain reached 434,000, with an average stay of 8.6 days and a noticeable increase in expenditure. Factors such as favourable weather, family-friendly environments, and cultural attractions resonating with the rich Arab legacy have been instrumental in drawing GCC travelers to Spain.

Looking ahead to 2024, Spain endeavours to further strengthen its standing as a top destination for Middle Eastern travelers through targeted marketing initiatives, strategic partnerships, and a diverse array of events.

In line with this objective, Spain Tourism recently concluded a highly successful roadshow across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE, where it showcased the diverse regions and attractions of Spain to key travel trade partners. The event served as a platform for networking and collaboration, underscoring Spain's commitment to curating unforgettable experiences for Middle Eastern visitors.

Daniel Rosado, director/tourism counsellor at Spain Tourism, expressed his enthusiasm for the roadshow's success, stating, "We are thrilled with the enthusiastic 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 reinforced our dedication to providing exceptional experiences for Middle Eastern travelers."

The roadshow aligns with Spain Tourism's overarching strategy to foster international alliances, expand its reach, and elevate Spain's profile as a premier travel destination. The collaboration between Spanish stakeholders and travel industry professionals from the Middle East signifies a significant step forward in promoting cross-cultural exchanges and mutual growth within the tourism sector.

Moreover, Spain Tourism organised its inaugural Polo tournament on February 10, bringing together travel trade professionals and polo enthusiasts in a relaxed networking setting. The event highlighted the elegance and sophistication of Spanish culture, featuring equestrian activities, sports, and experiences that contribute to showcasing Spain as a diverse and appealing destination.

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