The Middle-East is undergoing a spectacular transformation, making it one of the most desired locations for luxury travel in the world. Kuwait announced at the beginning of 2018, its plans to develop a mixed-use facilities project in the heart of Kuwait City. The $86bn Silk City development program includes the construction of an Olympic stadium, a 2,000m? nature reserve, an airport and business, leisure, athletics and business conventions facilities. This enormous project will have the potential to grow Kuwait’s tourism in a number of key areas including leisure, business and sport tourism.

Dubai has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past decade and looks like it’s showing no signs of halting. The Dubai South mixed use development is a long-term project that was announced in early 2000, however, it doesn’t look set to be completely finished until Q4 2045, despite construction starting in 2006. The project includes an airport with a handling capacity of 220 million per annum, hotels, leisure, developments, main roads and various business districts. The project will bring even greater accessibility to the region and looks set to cost a total of $55bn.

Much of the Middle East is synonymous with luxury and has established itself as the number one destination for luxury travel in the world. Nations in the GCC have a large amount of high end hotels to choose from, many of them offering amazing amenities to keep their guests entertained. Dubai is perhaps the most well-known city in the GCC, partly due to its flamboyant hotels. The Burj Al Arab Jumeirah is often touted as the world’s most luxurious hotel and its eye catching aesthetic is often enhanced with a fleet of Rolls-Royces that add to the decadence.

The UAE is not the only location offering luxury holidays in the GCC, with Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain all offering an array of luxury 5* hotels to tourists. 74% of Indians and 65% of Americans surveyed said that how enjoyable or unique a product/service is always or often influences their decision when purchasing a product. The GCC’s unique and extravagant style may appeal to many holidaymakers and explain why both markets perform so well in terms of international arrivals.

In a region that offers so much luxury it is unsurprising that there is an array of amazing spas available. The GCC is a fantastic destination for a spa holiday, thanks to its world-class spa resorts and glorious weather combined with breath-taking views of the Persian Gulf. A selection of high quality spas and treatments is an important feature and completes the GCC’s portfolio as an elite luxury travel destination.

The latest report “Tourism Destination Market Insights: Gulf Cooperation Council (2019)- Analysis of source markets, infrastructure and attractions, and risks and opportunities” includes an analysis of source markets, infrastructure and attractions, and assesses the risks and opportunities for the Gulf Cooperation Council as a destination market.

Key Highlights

  • Leisure tourism is by far the most popular kind of tourism in the UAE for both international and domestic travelers. In 2018, 17.1 million international arrivals arrived for leisure, making up an enormous 88% of international arrivals that year.
  • Saudi Arabians are by far the biggest international source market for Bahrain in terms of visitors, with 1.9 million visiting in 2018; 43.2% of Bahrain’s entire international market.
  • Tourism to Oman has grown rapidly since 2011 at a CAGR of 14.5%, this has resulted in 2.8 million international tourists in 2018, a 1.7 million person increase from 2011.
  • Qatar has an enormous opportunity to show the world what it has to offer by hosting the football World Cup in 2022. According to FIFA, more than 3.5 billion people viewed the World Cup in 2018; this means Qatar has the opportunity to market itself to nearly half of the entire population on Earth.


  • This report is part of GlobalData’s Destination Market Insights Series. These reports provide an in-depth analysis of a tourist destination and its key source markets, as well as an assessment of the trends and issues in the covered destination market, in this case the GCC.

Reasons To Buy

  • Obtain a clear and detailed insight into new developments in popular, well-established and upcoming tourist destinations.
  • Use data and analysis to explore future trends related to international arrivals, airlines, niche tourism, and hotel developments.
  • Gain a strong understanding of the opportunities in the market, as well as the risks, to support better business decisions