Spain Marks Increase in Number of GCC Visitors & Their Spending in 2023


Spain’s tourism industry experienced growth last year, while amongst others marking an increase in visitors from the  Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and expenditures from travellers from these countries, according to data published by Turespaña and the National Institute of Statistics (INE).

Data also reveals that GCC tourists spent €1,138 million during their visits throughout this period, marking a remarkable increase of 64.7 per cent from 2022 and an increase of 123.7 per cent from pre-pandemic levels, reports.

The flow of travellers from the GCC region to Spain reached a record high, with a total of 434,000 residents making the trip in 2023. This figure represents an increase of 33 per cent from the previous year and a significant increase of 56 per cent compared to 2019.

On average, visitors from the GCC region enjoyed an extended stay of 8.6 days, further contributing to the economic boost experienced by the Spanish tourism sector.

Saudi Arabia is the best example of this growth, with an increase of more than 100 per cent compared to 2019 and 92 per cent compared to 2022. The total number of Saudi tourists has reached 182,298, surpassing the United Arab Emirates as Spain’s primary GCC market, consolidating its status and the country’s vision for 2030.


Spain’s allure is attributed to several factors, including its favourable weather, familiarity, and deep cultural resonance, particularly with its rich Arab heritage.

As the calendar turns to 2024, Spain is unwavering in its ambition to strengthen its status as a top destination for Middle Eastern travellers.

To achieve this goal, the country has launched a multifaceted approach, using marketing campaigns, creating strategic alliances, and orchestrating many events under the auspices of the Turespaña Tourism Department in Abu Dhabi.

The Spanish Tourism Office has recently completed a series of engagements in GCC countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. The initiative included the display of different regions and attractive travel offers from Spain to trade partners in the respective countries.

This event was a platform to foster networking and collaboration opportunities, underscoring Spain’s unwavering commitment to introducing new experiences to Middle Eastern travellers.

In this regard, Daniel Rosado, Tourism Advisor in Abu Dhabi, expressed satisfaction with the enthusiastic response and active participation witnessed during the presentations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE. He also emphasised these regions’ huge potential for Spanish tourism, highlighting how collaborative efforts with travel trade partners have reinforced Spain’s commitment to curating unforgettable experiences for Middle Eastern travellers.


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