(MENAFN Press) Dubai, United Arab Emirates
VisitBritain is hosting its annual Sales Mission in the UAE to provide UK suppliers with the opportunity to meet more than 80 agents from across the GCC. This will be the largest mission taking place in the UAE that will for the first time include buyers for Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia with a 20% increase in UK suppliers and 37% increase in buyers over the previous year.
From 20-21 February, the country's national tourism agency, VisitBritain is holding their 2013 GCC Sales Mission, promoting holiday destinations and selling tour packages and attractions from the UK, highlighting to regional travel agents the value-for-money deals available to Middle East holidaymakers in the lead up to the long summer break and the school holidays. The workshops are being held in the Hilton Hotel, Abu Dhabi and The JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai.
The GCC Sales Mission 2013 allows UK suppliers to present their products and services and close sales with an interested audience, New and established companies showcasing from the UK include tour operators, retail giants and hotels.
Britain is a major beneficiary of outbound travel from the Gulf region with visitors spending 945 million (AED 5.5 billion) in Britain from January to September 2012, already a 7% increase over the total spent in 2011 (881 million) promising that 2012 will indeed be another record year for Britain in the region.
"In 2012, it was not only the Olympic Games that drew Middle East visitors to UK shores. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee also attracted thousands. Celebrations included the River Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and hundreds of events celebrating British art and culture took place all over the UK," said Dominic Jermey, HM Ambassador to the UAE.
"Tourism is a major contributor to the UK economy, accounting for 9% of UK GDP, and inbound tourism is our third largest earner of foreign exchange. Overseas visitors spend 18 billion (AED 102 billion) a year in Britain and every 40,000 (AED 227,230) spent by an overseas visitor sustains a job. One third of all new jobs created in Britain between 2009 and 2011 was in tourism."
VisitBritain also reports that by 2020 there is potential for the annual number of visits to Britain from the UAE to be 30 per cent up on the record year of 2009, which welcomed 246,000 visitors. The latest statistics show that UAE visits were up 10 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011.
In past five years (2006 to 2011), Saudi, Qatar, and UAE are three markets that have shown an outstanding increase in visitor numbers at 60 per cent, 59 per cent and 36 per cent respectively, with Qatar and Kuwait spend per night outshining all other countries.
With a significant year- on-year increase in GCC visitors to the UK, the UAE is the ideal location for holding this event.
VisitBritain, Chief Executive, Sandie Dawe said: "This mission will help foster relations with key trade who can help us achieve our ambitious targets for visitors from the GCC region."
"We'll put British businesses in front of decision makers, generating growth from what is a traditionally high spending region. The massive exposure Britain enjoyed in 2012 has enhanced our image and we are encouraged by our full year figures which confirm record spending by visitors in Olympic year.
"Our research also suggests that potential visitors want to see more than just London and the GCC mission will look to educate the industry, making sure they know all there is to know about Britain."