The UK has been a favorite destination for Saudi Arabian tourists and travelers for decades. According to numbers recently revealed by Visit Britain, the official website of the British Tourist Authority, things aren't so different this year.
In fact, the number of Saudis who visited the UK through all entry points reached a staggering 23,769 during the first quarter of 2019. The reasons for visits varied, ranging between vacation, business, study, and others including medical treatment. The statistical data also showed how much Saudis approximately spent during a three-month period in the UK. The amount totaled to nearly half a billion riyals ($118 million), to be exact.
Nearly 7,400 Saudi women visited the UK during the stated period, spending about 114 million riyals ($30 million); men spent the remaining 331 million riyals ($88 million).
The figures pointed to a huge jump in the number of Saudi women visiting the UK this year. Their number of visits rose by 76.6 percent compared to the same period last year, while their spendings shot up by 62.8 percent. The number of nights women spent in the kingdom also increased by 224.9 percent.
Things weren't as positive when it came to Saudi men as there was a significant decline in their number of visits, their nights spent, as well as their expenses. Saudi men's visits to the UK dropped by 34.7 percent to 16,403 from the previous year. Their expenditures and the number of nights spent in the UK also decreased by 20.6 percent and 56.6 percent, respectively.
This isn't to say Saudis haven't been exploring new destinations
The UK isn't the only destination attracting Saudi tourists this year. Other more adventurous locations are becoming popular among them, including Mauritius.
According to the latest statistics released by the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), travelers from Saudi Arabia to the island nation nearly doubled in the first few months of 2019.
Between the months of January and July of this year, travelers from Saudi Arabia to Mauritius increased 49 percent when compared to the same period in 2018. A total of 13,704 Saudi nationals visited the island in the stated months, exploring its sandy white beaches and lush green landscape. In 2018, the number of Saudi travelers to Mauritius stood at 9,190. Saudi Arabia is now the 10th most important international market for inbound travelers to Mauritius.