Spain Sees Surge in GCC Travelers as UAE and Saudi Arabia Lead Spending

Tourists and business travelers from the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and other GCC nations are flooding Spain.

According to data released by Turespaña and the National Institute of Statistics, tourist spending from the GCC has more than doubled since pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with visitors from the region increasingly choosing Spain as their destination.

In 2023, tourists from the GCC spent a total of €1.138 billion ($1.2 billion) in Spain, marking a significant increase of 64.7 percent compared to the previous year and a substantial rise of 123.7 percent from 2019.

The number of GCC residents visiting Spain also saw a notable uptick, reaching 434,000 in 2023, reflecting a 33 percent increase from the previous year and a 56 percent surge compared to 2019. On average, visitors from the GCC spent around 8.5 days during their stay in Spain.

Saudi Arabia has emerged as the leading market for Gulf visitors to Spain, surpassing the UAE, with 182,298 tourists recorded in 2023. This represents a remarkable 92 percent increase from the previous year and a doubling of visitor numbers compared to 2019.

In addition to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, countries like Qatar and Kuwait are also witnessing growth in Spanish tourism. Turespa attributes this popularity to factors such as favorable weather conditions and the presence of Arab heritage and influence in various parts of Spain.

To further enhance tourism ties with the Gulf region, Spain has established a presence in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Turespa's department in the UAE has organized events in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait aimed at raising awareness among travel trade partners.

Daniel Rosado, Tourism Councillor in Abu Dhabi, expressed satisfaction with the positive response received during presentations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. He emphasized the significant potential of these regions for Spanish tourism and highlighted the commitment to providing unforgettable experiences for Middle Eastern travelers through collaboration with travel trade partners.

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