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UK attracting record number of GCC tourists & businessmen

VisitBritain is inspiring visitors from the GCC with the help of WeGo and Etihad Airways to put the UK at the top of the list as their must-visit destination through its ‘Find Your GREAT Britain, I Travel For…’ digital campaign launched earlier this year.

The campaign uses short films and story-telling to shine a spotlight on unexpected experiences and less-explored destinations in Britain, alongside its globally renowned and iconic landmarks and attractions.

The content aligns with the passions that motivate visitors from the GCC to travel with experiences they can only have in Britain, inspiring them to “Find Your Great Britain” and book a trip.

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Was it a success?

As a result, the latest official figures from VisitBritain, the UK’s national tourism agency, show that 2017 was a record-breaking year for tourism from the GCC.

There were a record 812,000 visits from the GCC to the UK in 2017, up 5% on the previous year, with visitors spending £2.2 billion, up 55%, and also setting a new record.

However, even without this marketing campaign people from the GCC are being attracted by investments.

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 Investments in the UK

Over two-thirds of GCC investors stated that the UK is one of the top overseas property investment destinations, a new study shows.

The research, commissioned by UK developer Select Property Group and conducted by YouGov, reveals the current investment trends and attitudes in the GCC.

Real estate was unsurprisingly the most popular asset across the region, with 60% of respondents considering an overseas real estate investment in the future.

Among those surveyed, 54% chose London as the UK city of choice for property investment. Strongest capital growth (33%) and the highest yields (22%) were the main factors that influenced investors’ decisions. However, the UK capital doesn’t actually offer the strongest capital returns.

“While these cities were chosen based on capital growth potential, it is Manchester, not London, where property prices are rising fastest in the UK,” the report stated.

Also, the average rental yields in Manchester are 67% higher than those in London, according to Select Property.

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Research from JLL Residential states that Manchester saw a 52% rise increase in apartment property prices from 2011-2017, with residential property price forecast to grow 22.8% between 2018 and 2022 – growth that’s 81% higher than the UK average.

In 2017, the average rental price of a two-bedroom apartment in the city rose 3.2%, and residential rents across the board are forecast to increase 17.6% between 2018 and 2022 – 40% faster than the national average.

“GCC investors are already capitalizing on this growth potential, with 63% of our Manchester portfolio being purchased by investors in the region,” added JLL.

Manchester is of particular interest to investors from Saudi Arabia, with over double the number of respondents selecting Manchester than other GCC countries.

With a UK property portfolio worth over GBP approximately $2bn, Select Property Group has delivered thousands of properties with returns in excess of GBP $132.6m.

With a focus on Manchester, the company claims some of the strongest investment opportunities in the city, with a diverse range of options suited to varying investor motives.

From premium residential properties to luxury serviced apartments with guaranteed returns, Select’s portfolio has been particularly attractive to GCC investors in recent years.