The presence in Spain of tourists from the United Arab Emirates has increased by 75% in two years, rising from 40,000 in 2014 to 70,000 in 2016, according to figures provided by the director of the Spanish Tourism Office (OET) in Abu Dhabi, Miguel Nieto-Sandoval, in the framework of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) fair, being held until 27 April at the Dubai Convention Centre. The main objective of Turespaña is to ensure that the flow of travellers “with high purchasing power” from the UAE and the countries from the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) continues to grow, he added.
The capturing in that region of residents interested in discovering Spain is targeted at two essential population segments. First are the local citizens, who have the greatest economic resources; and second are the expatriates, who represent the second level with a medium-high purchasing power, with those of Indian nationality standing out here, as Miguel Nieto-Sandoval explains to EFE.
In total, the Turespaña pavilion at the ATM has 40 exhibitors from different private companies from the hotel and in-bound travel sectors and institutions. These are distributed across a space of 160 square metres, 35 more than in 2016.
“To promote our country it is very important to have these 40 companies and institutions here, which will not only sell this week but will also return to Spain and follow-up the contacts made and send information and offers, which has a multiplying effect», he said.
Currently, according to figures provided by Nieto-Sandoval, the top destination for tourists who leave the Emirates for Spain is Barcelona; followed by Madrid and in third place is Andalusia. Within Andalusia, the area in most demand continues to be Marbella.
He also indicated that among the goals set by Turespaña is that of “increasing business for Spain and promoting diversification in the Asia and Middle Eastern region, providing support to companies interested in this market so that they can come here at a reasonable cost and offer their products”.
The 2017 edition of the Arabian Travel Market fair hosts 2,600 exhibitors -100 of which are there for the first time-, in 65 national pavilions, and it is expected that over 40,000 professionals from the industry, from 152 countries, will visit the Dubai Convention Centre during the four days of the event.
According to the organisers, the global market for Muslim tourism was valued at $151 billion in 2015, around 10% of the global market for international tourism, and in the year 2021 it is expected that this value will have reached $243 billion.