The latest research published by Colliers International predicts the increase in Russian tourists to the GCC to create an extra 2.9 million room nights over the coming five years.
Looking at the economic drivers, Russia’s links with the GCC have strengthened in recent years due to the introduction of additional airline routes; relaxed visa regulations for Russian nationals; the oil price recovery and stabling of value of the Russian Rouble; a new generation of leisure attractions and retail destinations and a broad range of hotels and resorts across the GCC region.
Over the last 26 years, Russia has been well represented at ATM, with exhibitors including the National Tourist Union and Baltma Tours. Russian visitors to the exhibition increased 29 percent year-on-year (YoY) between 2017 and this year, with the total number of visitors interested in doing business with Russia also increasing three percent YoY.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “Traditionally, the GCC has always been popular with Russian tourists. However, in 2015 the GCC experienced a large drop in the number of Russian visitors, which was a reflection of volatility in the financial and energy markets. As both factors continue to steady, we are once again witnessing a huge increase in Russian visitors and we expect this to continue.”
Russia continues to be one of the top 10 source markets for the UAE, with 530,000 Russian visitors entering the UAE in 2017, a 121 percent increase from the previous year. This increase stemmed from the UAE’s introduction of visas on arrival for Russian tourists in 2017.
Colliers International expects this trend to continue this year, with 895,700 Russian visitors expected, an increase of 69 percent from 2017.