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Spanish Tourism Promotion in Abu Dhabi

From May 2 to May 5, Spanish tourism will be promoted as part of the Marhaba 2024 professional marketing days in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Organized by the Spanish Tourism Institute (Turespaña) and featuring the participation of the agency’s Director-General, Miguel Sanz, the event will bring more than 100 tour operators, travel agencies, and media from the Gulf countries (Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman, as well as other Arab countries) together with over 30 Spanish tourism industry destinations and companies, including hotels, tourism management companies, and shopping centers.

This marks the second edition of these direct meetings. These Gulf professional days will place special emphasis on Spanish culture, contributing to the promotion of Spain as a diverse, attractive, and value-added destination.

Miguel Sanz, Director-General of Turespaña, will inaugurate the sessions and participate in the specially designed program.

“The Persian Gulf is a strategic market for Spain due to its excellent connectivity with our country and the profile of the visitor, who is predominantly family-oriented, interested in enjoying unique experiences in Spain, and stays of over eight days,” said Miguel Sanz.

The event, which includes over 1,200 scheduled meetings, is an excellent opportunity to discover projects, exchange ideas, and network.

Marhaba 2024 will feature a gala dinner, attended by the diplomatic corps in the country and other relevant stakeholders, where some of Spain’s most renowned dishes and wines will be served.

Additionally, attendees can enjoy Spanish culture through a flamenco show, and tourism companies will be recognized with awards given out that night.

The first edition of Marhaba was held in the Sultanate of Oman in 2023 and featured the participation of 100 luxury travel agencies from the Middle East and 24 Spanish companies and destinations.

During his stay in this country, the Director-General of Turespaña will also participate in as President of the European Travel Commission (ETC) at the Phocuswright WiT Middle East 2024 international conference on May 3 in Dubai, where he will discuss “European tourism in the spotlight: the path forward.”

Scheduled to be held before Arabian Travel Market week, Phocuswright WiT Middle East at Grand Movenpick Media City will blend the best of Phocuswright intelligence with WiT market insights in digital travel to focus on technology, innovation and distribution and marketing trends in the Middle East.

Turespaña’s latest comprehensive Summer Trends Reports revealed the positive outlook for the 2024 summer tourism season. Spain will be one of the most popular travel destinations for summer 2024. In another study by Britain’s consumer advocacy group Which?, Spain is one of the best-priced holiday destinations in Europe.

Income and Spending Above the OECD Average

The spending and income of citizens from the Gulf region are growing well above the OECD average, making it very attractive to draw tourists from this region.

The total number of tourists from the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council increased by 34% in 2023 compared to 2022, and by 56% compared to 2019, with Saudi Arabia leading the surge (nearly a 100% increase).

Additionally, it’s worth noting that the average spending of these tourists is €2,625.

The excellent connectivity with Spain from these Arab countries, the increase in the number of scheduled seats compared to 2023, as well as more flight lines—both in frequency and in the opening of new routes—outline optimistic growth prospects for Spain as a tourist destination for the spring/summer season.

Furthermore, there is a perception of Spain as a safe destination. Tourists from this region spent €1,138 million in Spain in 2023, almost 66% more than in 2022. Compared to 2019, the increase is 103%. The average stay has also increased over the last year to 8.6 days per trip.

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