The report aims to explain the position of these market segments in terms of spending behavior, why it is important to have such tourists return to the country, and how it will directly affect growth.
Gulf tourists – mainly Saudi Arabians, Kuwaitis, Emiratis, and Qataris – represented 19 percent of the total number of tourist in 2009. This percentage dropped to four percent last year due to the unrest in the Middle East, especially in Syria. Such tourists would have ordinarily traveled overland which was more cost-effective.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourist arrivals recorded nine percent annual growth over the last three years. But these visitors were from nationalities that have a low-spending yield or none at all.
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) said that tourism contributes directly to eight percent of the country’s GDP and indirectly to around 22 percent.
The annual spending evolution for tourists from the KSA, Kuwait, the UAE, and Qatar dropped from 59 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, reaching minus 13 percent last year compared to 2015, with average an decrease of minus eight percent.
The number of VAT refund forms at the airport dropped from 60 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, and reached minus 17 percent last year compared to the previous year, with an average decrease of minus eight percent.
Accommodation represented 36 percent of tourists’ spending patterns, followed by shopping (24 percent), and eating out (22 percent).
Total tourist spending decreased from 56 percent in 2008 compared to the previous year, reaching minus nine percent last year compared to 2015, with an average decrease of minus seven.