Payments firm Visa revealed that GCC travellers to Brazil spent over $500,000 on their Visa accounts during the first four days of the FIFA World Cup from June 12- 15.
The amount represents a five-fold increase over the same four-day period in 2013, and 47 per cent more when compared to the opening four-day period of the Confederations Cup (June 15 –June 18, 2013), it said in a statement.
The report by Visa also found that the UAE and Saudi Arabia made up 70 per cent of the total spend.
“The global attraction of the FIFA World Cup and growing confidence and understanding of the convenience of electronic payment platforms has combined to see the enormous increase in card usage from the GCC region,” Visa said.
The GCC spend was part of a total spending of $27 million from global visitors to Brazil during the four-day period. On June 14 alone, international travellers to Brazil spent over $10.7 million using Visa products, the highest tourist spend day in the country in 2014, the statement said.
In terms of categories, visitors spent the most on lodging and accommodation, which accounted for $5 million, and in local restaurants at $2.5 million.
Travellers from the US, followed by the UK, France, and Mexico represented the largest overall tourist spend.
“These numbers reflect the significant impact that mega sporting events like the World Cup can have in boosting local commerce in host market economies,” said Ihab Ayoub, general manager for Middle East and North Africa at Visa.
“This positive trend aligns with Brazil’s expectation that more than 600,000 international travellers may visit the country during this event – ultimately boosting the country’s economy including a significant number from the Middle East.”
GCC travellers are amongst the highest spenders globally. A recent report commissioned by travel technology firm Amadeus and written by Oxford Economics predicts a 7.6 per cent growth in outbound travel spend for the Middle East and Africa over the next 10 years, ahead of Europe and the Americas and behind only Asia.