UAE tourist spending up 5% in Q1 2015 – report

American tourists accounted for 21 per cent of the overall UAE tourism spend in Q1 2015.



Spending by tourists to the UAE grew by 5 per cent during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2014, according to a study by payment solutions provider Network International.

The results were drawn from guests’ credit or debit card transactions in the first quarter of 2015, although the total tourist spend was not specified.

American tourists spent the largest amount in the UAE, accounting for 21 per cent of the overall tourist spend in Q1 2015, according to the study.

Tourists from Saudi Arabia were the second highest spenders, accounting for 12 per cent, followed by visitors from the UK, China and Kuwait.

In contrast, spending by Russian tourists fell 52 per cent due to the devaluation of the rouble. Chinese tourist spending also dropped 7 per cent in Q1 2015, but they were still one of the top five spenders in the UAE.

Network International said that the decline in spending from these countries was offset by a rise in expenditure from American, Saudi Arabian and Canadian visitors.

In terms of spending habits, Americans were found to spend the lowest average amounts on hotels and meals, the report showed.

Russians and Chinese visitors were the biggest fashion spenders, with average transaction sizes three times those of the traditional fashion capitals France or Italy.

Three of the top four average bill sizes in the restaurant business came from GCC states. Tourists from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar spent 60 per cent more than an average person per meal.

Compared to other seasons, the winter months saw larger spending by tourists to the UAE, Network International noted.

The UAE has been aggressively marketing its tourism credentials to capitalise on the millions of passengers that transit through the country every year.

Emirates including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah have also set a clear roadmap for attracting tourists to the country, investing billions of dollars to develop leisure and retail projects.