Visitor characteristics

  • Most visitors from the UAE are between 25 and 54 and there are very few 65+ Emiratis visiting Britain
  • 76% of all holiday visitors from the UAE (excluding British expats) are making a repeat visit to Britain (within 10 years)
  • In 2017 49% of visitors from the UAE were British nationals while only 19% were Emiratis
  • Just over 78% of departing UAE staying holiday visitors (excluding British expats) say they are ‘extremely likely’ to recommend Britain for a holiday or short-break, which is above the all market average of 71%

Popular activities

Dining in a restaurant

Visited Parks/ Gardens

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)17.6
Global rank for international tourism expenditure20
Number of outbound visits (m)3.0
Most visited destinationSaudi Arabia
Most visited destination in Western EuropeUnited Kingdom

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)9.6
GDP per capita PPP (US$)66,622
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)2.8
Annual average GDP growth in the past year (%)1.3

Inbound visits to Britain

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Seasonality (Share of visits)

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Regional spread (Share of visits)

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Journey purpose (Share of visits)

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What Emiratis think about Britain

  • Key holiday ‘wants’ include ‘enjoying the beauty of the landscape’, ‘having fun and laughter’ and ‘good value for money’ with Italy seen as the ‘best place’ for delivering the former two and the US for the latter
  • Factors that are low on the holiday wish-list include ‘getting some sun’ and ‘watching a sporting event’
  • Britain rates well for ‘visiting a place with lots of history’ for example, but not as favourably as Italy

Caring for visitors

  • English is widely spoken and understood
  • Arab families like to have hotel suites or inter-connecting rooms, or to rent an apartment
  • Hospitality is a key element of the Arab culture and so being available to answer questions, and small gestures will be very much appreciated


The leisure & travel trade

  • Many travel agents are in effect ticketing agents with limited product knowledge
  • Key times of year for promotional visits to the region are February to late May and September to November
  • The working week traditionally starts on Sunday and ends on Thursday

Access to Britain from the UAE

Weekly aircraft departures206
Weekly seat capacity88,047
Airports with direct routes in the United Arab Emirates3
Airports with direct routes in Britain8
  • Both Dubai airports* as well as Abu Dhabi airport serve up to 8 airports in the UK with an average of 206 direct, non-stopping flights per week. On average there are 88,047 seats departing the UAE to the UK weekly**
  • Departing visitors heading home to the UAE currently pay £78 in Air Passenger Duty if travelling in economy class
  • Visitors from the UAE require a visa to visit Britain, with a six-month visa currently costing £95


*TUI Airways operated only 3 flights to/from Al Maktoum airport near Dubai, linking a third airport in the UAE to the UK in December 2018

**2018 data