GCC to welcome more Chinese visitors

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

According to new research undertaken by Colliers International in partnership with the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2019, the number of Chinese visitors heading on trips to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will increase by a staggering 81 per cent by 2022. The number of Chinese nationals visiting GCC countries stood at 1.6 million in 2018, and the report projects that by 2022 the total will increase to 2.9 million.

Currently, GCC countries attract only one per cent of the total number of outbound Chinese travellers. However, various positive trends – such as economic drivers, diplomatic links and more direct airline routes – are expected to drive this number up considerably. Colliers’ research found that 154 million Chinese tourists travelled abroad in 2018, a number that is projected to increase to 400 million by 2030.

Saudi Arabia is likely to see the most benefit from the increased number of Chinese arrivals, according to the report, with a projected Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 33 per cent over the next three years. The UAE will follow, with projected CAGR of 13 per cent, followed by Oman (12 per cent).

“China is set to account for a quarter of international tourism by 2030,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME at ATM, “and owing to its many business and investment opportunities, as well as a new generation of leisure attractions and retail destinations, the GCC is set to capitalise on this growth with millions of Chinese tourists about to make their first international trip. Last year, the number of Chinese exhibitors participating at ATM almost doubled and this trend looks set to continue as we look ahead to ATM 2019. Over the years, sentiment at ATM has reflected the growth in Chinese tourists to the GCC and today we have seen more hotel and travel professionals than ever before eager to capitalise on the significant opportunities presented by the Chinese market.”