Skift Take

Middle Eastern travelers spend a lot of money on outbound trips. It’s time the travel industry started paying attention to this region.

Residents in three countries in the Middle East have average outbound trip expenditures of over $3,000. That’s compared to the U.S. average of $1,900, according to data analysis and estimates by Skift Research. Travelers from this lucrative market are keen to visit international destinations and they tend to take long trips. All in all, they have all the components needed to be an appealing target market for travel brands and destinations around the world.

In the latest Skift Research report, The State of Middle East Outbound Travel 2019, we provide an in-depth look at this market. We start with an overview of the market size and growth forecast for the region at large as well as country highlights. Then, we focus on key factors that are driving international travel in the region and consumer behavior trends that shape their travel preferences Finally, we cover some case studies of global travel brands and destinations that are implementing strategic initiatives to capture a piece of this market.

Preview and Buy the Full Report

Last week we launched the latest report in our Skift Research service, The State of Middle East Outbound Travel 2019.

Below is an excerpt from our Skift Research Report. Get the full report here to stay ahead of this trend.

Per-Trip Outbound Travel Expenditure

Because of the high wealth of the region, per-trip expenditures for Middle East travelers is on the higher end compared to the other countries and regions. In 2017, the average spend per outbound departure was $1,551, higher than the UK and Germany, two high-spending outbound markets globally.

Exhibit 8: The average spend per outbound departure for the Middle Eastern travelers is relatively high.

Delving into the country level, travelers from three of the GCC countries spent over $3,000 per outbound trip on average in 2017. By comparison, the number for the U.S. was only $1,900 for the year.

Exhibit 9: Qatar, the UAE, and Kuwait all have per-departure outbound trip expenditures of over $3,000.

Some destination marketing organizations (DMOs) have found similar trends when Middle East travelers visit their destinations. Data from VisitBritain, for example, reveals that Middle Eastern travelers in the UK spent an average of $2,040 per visit, compared to $1,579 for travelers from Asia, and $1,091 for North American travelers.

Exhibit 10: Compared to other high-spending regions, Middle Eastern travelers to the UK spend the most per visit.

Looking at the top spending countries from each of these regions (or each country, in the case of North America), we again see the dominance of the Middle East from a spending perspective. The four high-spending Gulf Cooperation Council countries we discussed previously also exhibit very high per-visit spending, as VisitBritain’s data reveals, with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia showing especially high expenditures.

Exhibit 11: Of the UK’s top-spending inbound markets in the Middle East, North America, and Asia, four of the top five highest per-visit spenders are Middle Eastern nations.


Subscribe now to Skift Research Reports

This is the latest in a series of research reports aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports, analyst sessions, and data sheets conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep-dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

Subscribe Now


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: consumer insights, gcc, middle east, outbound, skift research

Photo credit: Middle Eastern tourists have high per-outbound-trip expenditures. Here, Muslim women take pictures by water. Lisa / flickr

Up Next

Loading next stories