According to “VisitBritain” data, the UAE ranks 19th as the largest source of the tourism market in Britain, but it is the tenth in terms of importance due to the volume of visitors’ spending, despite its small population.

The National magazine reported that Kuwaitis spent 305 million pounds during their stay in the United Kingdom in 2022, and they are the third highest spending among Gulf tourists after the Emiratis and Saudis.

It should be noted that the peak of Kuwaitis’ spending on tourism in Britain between 2013-2022 was in 2017 when they spent 575 million pounds sterling.

The data shows that London has become less attractive for shopping since the abolition of the tax-free shopping system in January 2021. The government’s expectations indicate that canceling the system will provide the British treasury with revenues estimated at 2 billion pounds, but critics of the move say that the size of the benefits is greatly exaggerated and that it has led to a loss of about two million visitors to the country.

According to Global Blue data, spending by American visitors to the United Kingdom in 2022 rose 101 percent from its levels in 2019, and at the same time, British sales to visitors from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia constituted only 65 percent of their levels in 2019.

On the other hand, VisitBritain’s forecasts indicate that spending by visitors from Gulf countries in Britain will return to 2019 levels and exceed them by 2025.

The organization is working with the tourism market to boost the number of visitors from the Gulf, and it hopes that plans such as the electronic travel authorization plan will encourage more tourists, as the plan, which costs 10 pounds sterling, allows multiple visits to Britain over a period of two years.

Qatar was the first Gulf country to adopt the plan, but as of February 1, 2024, the plan will be available to citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, the Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

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