The number of Chinese tourists travelling to the GCC is expected to increase 54 per cent to 2.2 million by 2023, according to data published ahead of Arabian Travel Market 2020.

As destinations from across the globe prepare to showcase their latest offering at Arabian Travel Market, Colliers International predicts China will maintain its position as a top source market across the GCC.

This is particularly the case in the UAE, where Chinese visitors are currently the second and fourth highest ranked source markets for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, respectively.

Adding to this, the data predicts the UAE will continue to be the preferred GCC destination for Chinese tourists, welcoming a projected 1.9 million visitors by 2023.

Saudi Arabia will follow, with one million visitors, while Oman will welcome 76,900, Bahrain 26,300 and Kuwait 2,800.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director, Middle East, Arabian Travel Market, said: “China’s links with the GCC have strengthened in recent years due to the introduction of additional and direct airline routes; relaxed visa regulations; the strong growth of the Chinese economy and Chinese tourists’ increasing disposable income.

“The recent influx in Chinese visitors to the GCC shows no sign of abating as we look ahead to 2023 and beyond – owing largely to the many business and investment opportunities that the region presents, as well as a new generation of leisure attractions and retail destinations.”

Chinese tourists are the world’s highest spenders while travelling abroad, with total outbound travel and tourism expenditure reaching US$277 billion in 2018, according to the Colliers data.

“Focusing on the GCC, Chinese visitors to the region are expected to generate an estimated US$3.48 billion in travel and tourism revenue by 2023, an increase of 71 per cent when compared with figures from 2018,” said Curtis.

This is the latest in a series of optimistic forecasts from Colliers, which has also predicted increases in arrivals from Europe, India and Russia.

More Information

Arabian Travel Market is considered by industry professionals to be a barometer for the Middle East and north Africa tourism sector.

The 2020 event is being held at Dubai World Trade Centre from April 19th-22nd.

Find out more here.

ATM 2020: Chinese guests to buoy GCC tourism sector | News

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