ATM’s research partner, Colliers International, added that as many as 24.6 million EU residents will travel to the GCC between now and 2020.
The UAE and Saudi Arabia continue to be the preferred GCC destinations for European visitors; together they are on track to welcome 81 percent of the projected business and leisure travellers.
The UAE is expected to receive 14.5 million, Saudi Arabia 5.4 million, Oman 2.21 million, Bahrain 1.72 million and Kuwait 738,000, by 2020.
“Historically, Europe and the GCC have enjoyed excellent travel and tourism links. Building on this, over the next three years, EU arrivals to the GCC will increase and we will see this in both the leisure and business segments,” said Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM. “While European tourists have previously travelled to the GCC for its luxury resorts, the growing numbers of millennial travellers, middle-class tourists and corporate travellers on a budget, are slowly changing traditional market trends, as is the growth in affordable, mid-market hotels combined with an increase in low-cost flights.”