GCC outbound travel market set to see soaring growth

The forecasted increase in outbound travel is primarily attributed to increased personal wealth and growing demand for business, leisure and religious travel

A recent report titled ‘GCC Outbound Travel and Tourism Market’ by Research Nester explored the latest market trends, opportunities, growth drivers and restraints associated with the growth of the travel market between 2019 and 2028.

The GCC outbound travel and tourism market is estimated to grow with a significant compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the forecast period of 2021 to 2028.

The market in Saudi Arabia is estimated to garner a revenue of US$27 billion by 2028, up from US$15 billion in the year 2019 by growing at a CAGR of 18% over the forecast period.

The market in the UAE, which attained a value of US$19.4 billion in 2019, is expected to reach US$30.4 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 19% during the forecast period.

In Qatar, the outbound travel and tourism market is also projected to grow by a CAGR of 19% over the forecast period and further gain revenue of US$3.9 billion by 2021.

Interestingly, the market in Kuwait is anticipated to generate substantial revenue of US$17.4 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 18% over the forecast period.


Statistics by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) show that arrivals in the European Union from the Middle East are expected to grow by 2.6% per year by the end of 2030.

Saudi Arabia’s outbound travel and tourism market is divided into five major regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East & Africa. Europe is estimated to garner the largest revenue from Saudi visitors, an estimated US$13.1 billion by 2028. In 2019, the market was valued at US$7.3 billion.

The UAE, Qatar and Kuwait outbound markets will contribute substantially to Saudi’s long-term tourism targets

The UAE, Qatar and Kuwait outbound travel and tourism markets are listed as Saudi Arabia, the UK, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the US, India, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and ‘Rest of the World’. The Saudi Arabia segment is estimated to record the largest increase, with a value of US$3.5 billion in 2021, and US$11.4 billion in 2028, owing to the increasing business travels between the UAE and Saudi Arabia. 

The Qatar outbound market to Saudi Arabia also registered the largest revenue of US$3.9 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow by a CAGR of 19% during the forecast period. Over in Kuwait, the US segment is set to see the most substantial growth with a CAGR of 18% throughout the forecast period.

The report also segmented the market by age into Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996) and Generation Z (1997 or after). Out of these, the Generation X segment is expected to garner the biggest market share in all GCC countries. 

To request the full report, visit here 

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