GCC using consistency, authenticity & uniqueness to develop travel destinations

Mabrian report highlights GCC strategy for tourism development
/ New Delhi
GCC using consistency, authenticity & uniqueness to develop travel destinations

The report launched in Dubai, during the Arabian Travel Market 2024

A recent report by Mabrian, a travel intelligence firm, outlines the strategy used by the GCC countries in promoting tourism, which uses consistency, uniqueness and authenticity as the foundation of tourism development.
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After a remarkable development in travel and tourism, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are committed to build consistency across the region while remaining unique and authentic, says a report, Connecting Travel Insight Report 2024, prepared by Mabrian, a travel intelligence firm. 

In a press statement, the Spanish firm says that aligning promotion, quality, and experience, extending stays, and embracing collaboration are some of the strategies outlined for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. It adds that the report launched in Dubai, during the Arabian Travel Market 2024.

It adds that the report has been developed by Mabrian, in collaboration with Connecting Travel and Jacobs Media and it explores GCC tourism and travel from a destination’s perspective and as source markets, comparing the overall performance of the two first semesters of 2023 and 2024.

Focusing on international travel to GCC countries namely the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait, the study indicates that air connectivity for increased 11 pc year over year, meaning an extra 8.5 million seats than the same period in 2023, contributing to increasing potential demand. 

According to Mabrian’s analysis, huge potential lies in extending the length of stay in the six GCC counties, which currently averages at 3.46 days, by extensively promoting the variety of tourism experiences, encouraging meaningful and authentic connections and multi-destination trips. Mabrian says that this strategy will have a positive impact in the region’s Satisfaction Index of Tourism Products and Services, now reaching an average of 68 points out of 100, as the local experience will better resonate with the key drivers for foreign visitation, namely culture and arts at 27 pc, gastronomy at 13 pc, and active well-being, which is a combination of outdoors, wellness, and active lifestyle, equivalent to 30 pc of the total share. 

There is also an opportunity in levelling hospitality standards to build a more homogeneous perception of the accommodation experience across the region. As data indicates, the Hotel Satisfaction Index reaches 67 out of 100 points on average, fluctuating over 25 points from the highest to the lowest punctuations. This index can attain regional stability and consistency by harnessing the competitive ADRs with the value proposition of mid-range accommodations as well as the outstanding 5-stars hotels, says the study.

As Mabrian data indicates, safety and climate are great advantages from GCC destinations to attract international travellers, reflected in a 94-points Perception of Security Index, as well as the 90-points Climate Perception Index, a positive asset built around efficient expectations’ management and non-seasonal travel from key inbound markets.

Carlos Cendra

Carlos Cendra

“The extensive tourism infrastructure development also gives opportunities to diversify in segments, enhancing MICE, business, and bleisure travel, and to appeal to other profitable demographics groups, including younger generations, as well as GenX or travellers more than 45 years-old or silver travellers,” says Carlos Cendra, Marketing and Communications Officer at Mabrian.

The report adds that for GCC travellers visiting other destinations, there is a strong preference for renowned bucket-list destinations such as France, United Kingdom, or Italy, culturally familiar destinations like Turkiye or Egypt, as well as places with breath-taking outdoors and landscapes, including paradise-like beaches such as Thailand or Maldives, or spectacular forests and mountains such as Georgia, Switzerland or Azerbaijan. The drivers that influence them the most when choosing a destination are active well-being, which is the combination of nature, wellness, sports, and active lifestyle, equivalent to 36 pc of the total share, while arts and culture and gastronomy represent 25 pc and 12 pc, respectively.

“Understanding GCC market preferences and travel motivations is key to increase average stay of 4.2 days, offering them more opportunities to enjoy meaningful and authentic experiences in their chosen destinations,” adds Cendra.

Moreover, direct connectivity and safety are relevant drivers for GCC travelling abroad. In fact, air capacity from January to June 2024 grew 19 pc when compared to 2023, and in some markets, such as Azerbaijan, Thailand or Egypt increased even more, over 38 pc, 33 pc, and 25 pc respectively. Mabrian’s Perception of Security Index (PSI) data indicates that this market highly regards safety, as the average PSI of their 10 most popular destinations is 87 points out of 100, and is even higher for Thailand at 96, Georgia at 95 and France and Italy at 93.

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