There’s been a staggering increase in the number of passengers flying in to Manchester from countries in the Middle East, for both tourism and business
A huge surge in visitors from the Middle East to Manchester is sparking an economic tourism boom.
New figures from Manchester Airport reveal a staggering increase in the number of passengers flying in from countries in the Middle East.
Tourism bosses have revealed that visitors from the United Arab Emirates alone are worth more than £18m to the Manchester economy.
Now both Manchester and London are set to be marketed by experts to overseas countries as the two cities best placed to offer ‘the complete English experience’ to holidaymakers.
One Manchester hotel reportedly revealed that a family of seven on holiday from the Middle East paid for an extra room to store designer clothing and expensive jewellery they bought in the city before returning home.
There are even claims that London is falling by the wayside, with holidaymakers and those visiting for business opting for Manchester and Edinburgh as British bases ahead of the capital.
Our top hotels, designer boutiques, fine dining restaurants and legendary nightlife are all said to be factors behind the boom – alongside football.
Sheikh Mansour, a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi, has invested more than £1bn in Manchester City since he bought the football club in 2008.
Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour
His investment is widely considered to be another trigger for the increase in Middle Eastern interest in Manchester, alongside the years of Manchester United success and trophies.
Other sources even point to our gloomy weather, with hoteliers revealing that the rain gives Arab tourists respite from the oppressively hot summer months in the Middle East.
Almost 100,000 Middle Eastern visitors flew into Manchester Airport in 2015, a 33 per cent increase from 2011, according to figures supplied by Manchester Airport.
The number of tourists from both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait almost trebled between 2010 and 2015, shooting up from 16,348 to 40,151 and 3,083 to 9,300 respectively.
In 2010, there were 12,049 visitors to Greater Manchester from the United Arab Emirates. That figure surged last year to 16,801, with each visitor on average spending around £1,077 per visit, according to figures from the International Passenger Survey for the Office of National Statistics.
The value of the UAE market to Greater Manchester is now said to be around £18m, a massive boost from 2010 economic studies.
Manchester Airport revealed that in that time, capacity to the Middle East with the gulf carriers has grown by almost 44 percent, with airline Oman Air set to launch a new daily route next year. There are already 54 flights every week between Manchester and Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Jeddah.
Sheona Southern, managing director of Marketing Manchester, which works to promote Manchester nationally and internationally, said: “This influx of visitors we’re seeing from the UAE is very exciting for Manchester’s tourism industry, representing the city’s growing profile as an inviting destination with access to globally recognised brands and culture.
“Moving forward it’s our intention to work proactively with London and VisitBritain in this key market to promote the cities’ complementary features.
“Together, we feel London and Manchester can form an unrivalled offer, providing the UAE visitor with the complete English experience.”