Influx of tourists from Middle East driving Manchester economy

PUBLISHED ON Sep 21, 2016

The north-west city has recorded a 33% increase in tourists from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in just four years.


  • Manchester is becoming a tourism hotspot for travellers from the Middle East
  • The city has seen a 33% rise in visitor levels between 2011 and 2015, with travellers from the UAE alone worth over £18 million to Manchester’s economy
  • These new figures underline Manchester’s “growing profile as an inviting destination” for wealthy holidaymakers

Manchester’s tourism sector is currently experiencing a surge of activity from Middle Eastern travellers.

The city’s heritage and history, along with its proliferation of designer brands, boutique hotels and restaurants, is attracting more visitors from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The increased levels of visitors are having a significant impact on the city’s economy, with visitors from the UAE alone worth more than £18 million to Manchester.

Almost 100,000 Middle Eastern travellers flew into Manchester Airport in 2015, an increase of 33% over numbers just four years previous in 2011. Looking at the UAE in particular, the 16,801 visitors that came to Manchester in last year spent, on average, £1,077 each.

During this time, passenger capacity with Gulf airlines flying to and from Manchester Airport has risen by almost 44%. Over 54 flights each week currently transport passengers from the city to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Jeddah, while Oman Air is set to launch a new daily route in 2017.

“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,” commented Sheona Southern, Managing Director of Marketing Manchester.

As well as establishing itself as a tourist hotspot for wealthy travellers, Manchester is also quickly becoming the UK’s number one hotspot for property investment from overseas buyers. Already home to the country’s highest yields, it has become a ‘magnet for investors’ following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union.

Source: Select Property Group