From 22 May we will be working to update all of the data and documents on this page following the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revision of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) data for 2009-2018 and the released detailed 2019 data. UK data will be updated first and followed by the regional data from 27 May. Please be patient as we update these pages or contact the VisitBritain research team if you have any questions- VB/ Thank you.

Visitor characteristics

  • Most visitors from the UAE are between 25 and 54 (80% in 2019), 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 2019, 31% of visitors from the UAE were British nationals while 37% were Emiratis
  • 81% of departing UAE visitors (excluding British expats) say they are ‘extremely likely’ to recommend Britain for a visit, on par with the all market average of 82%

Popular activities

Dining in a restaurant

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)18.0
Global rank for international tourism expenditure20
Number of outbound visits (m)3.6
Most visited destinationSaudi Arabia
Most visited destination in Western EuropeUnited Kingdom

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)9.8
GDP per capita PPP (US$)72,256
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)3.6
Annual average GDP growth in the past year (%)1.7

Inbound visits to Britain from UAE

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Number of visits

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Total expenditure (GBP)

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Total nights spent

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Average length of stay (Nights)


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Average spend per visit (GBP)

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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 departures202
Weekly seat capacity87,282
Airports with direct routes in the United Arab Emirates3
Airports with direct routes in Britain8
  • The Dubai to London Heathrow route had the highest share of departing seats in 2019
  • In 2019, the highest rate of flight departures took place in July, August and December
  • 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