Spain’s sunny success: GCC tourists flock and break records

Spain's sunny success: GCC tourists flock and break records

Spain's sunny success: GCC tourists flock and break records. Image: anek.soowannaphoom /

In 2023, Spain experienced a remarkable surge in tourism from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, setting new records in both visitor numbers and tourism spending.

Tourists from the GCC region spent over €1,138M in Spain, marking a 64.7 per cent increase compared to 2022 and a staggering 123.7 per cent increase compared to 2019, according to estimates from Turespaña based on data from the INE (Frontur and Egatur).

The total number of visitors from the GCC region to Spain in 2023 reached 434,000, reflecting a 33 per cent increase from 2022 and a 56 per cent growth compared to 2019.

On average, these visitors stayed for 8.6 days.

Saudi Arabia witnessed exceptional growth, with a more than 100 per cent increase compared to 2019 and a 92 per cent increase compared to 2022.

The total number of Saudi tourists reached 182,298, surpassing the United Arab Emirates as Spain’s primary GCC market and reinforcing its position in line with the country’s 2030 vision.

The trend of attraction to Spain was also observed in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and Kuwait.

Factors such as favourable weather, a sense of familiarity, and cultural resonance, including Spain’s rich Arab heritage, influenced GCC travellers when choosing Spain as their destination.

Looking ahead to 2024, Spain aims to solidify its position as a preferred destination for Middle Eastern travellers through marketing campaigns, strategic partnerships, and various events organised by Turespaña’s Tourism Department in Abu Dhabi.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.