Flights have become too expensive, and European countries have become too unsafe for tourists. And this comment was not made from Russia. This is how the experts of the tourist market substantiated the new trend in the Arab countries. Earlier in the summer months, tourists from the Gulf countries “escaped” to Europe from the heat and for the temptations of the Old World, but now they prefer to visit neighboring countries, and also choose domestic tourism, avoiding the EU.
Bahrain, for example, received 1.5 million tourists in July, mostly from neighboring countries. Dubai and other emirates of the United Arab Emirates, as well as hotels in the mountainous regions of Saudi Arabia, where local tourists and others traditionally escape from the heat, report about the occupancy of hotels from 70% to 100%.
Several people are guilty of this trend. factors. Firstly, the increase in ticket prices, provoked by a decrease in the number of flights, problems of European carriers and chaos at airports, as well as an increase in fuel prices: all this led to a decrease in the number of people wishing to travel abroad, and especially to visit old Europe, local experts note.
Secondly, the negative context played a role: videos and news were circulating on social networks that some tourists from the Gulf countries were being targeted for criminal activities in many European countries, primarily in tourist cities such as Barcelona, London and Paris, which led to great resentment and legitimate fears. “The tourist seeks a change of scenery for a short period and requires maximum security. Therefore, Europe is losing because it is no longer completely safe – we see that there is an increase in the number of cases of attacks on tourists, especially Arabs. So traveling to Europe is no longer a priority,” said Ali Al-Abdullah, owner of a Saudi travel company.
A well-thought-out advertising campaign was superimposed on this situation – the tourism strategies of all the Persian Gulf states are aimed at convincing tourists to have a rest in their country, or at least without leaving the region. The programs are aimed mainly at family tourism, tourists are lured both by festivals and concerts, and by the increase in the number of hotels and entertainment centers that “correspond to Islamic culture.” And the policy is clearly a success.
At the same time, their leaders in the rating have already been determined – the main “generator” of tourists in the region is Saudi Arabia, from which about 100 flights depart daily to nearby countries. The Emirates and, in particular, Dubai, became the main goal of attracting tourists, thanks to a well-thought-out tourism policy, numerous festivals and rich shopping opportunities.
At the same time, experts are sure that this trend of ignoring Europe is “long-lasting”: “Large programs launched by countries Persian Gulf, attract more and more tourists. If the situation does not fundamentally change, the percentage of tourists from the Persian Gulf traveling abroad will decrease even more,” the Saudi tour operator said.
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