Mayor Ángeles Muñoz headed the Marbella delegation at the Dubai tourism fair SUR
Marbella takes centre stage at Arabian Travel Market and is positioned as a favourite destination

Marbella takes centre stage at Arabian Travel Market and is positioned as a favourite destination

The Middle Eastern tourist is a lover of luxury and has a close relationship with the Costa del Sol town

María Albarral


Monday, 13 May 2024, 15:02


Marbella, Madrid and Barcelona. In that same order are the preferences of Middle Eastern tourists who attended the Arabian Travel Market held recently in Dubai, when it comes to Spanish holiday destinations. Tour operators, travel agencies, the media and other professionals from the sector met at the tourism fair, where they showed special interest in Marbella. Agreements were reached for promoting the town, with the economic impact of the increase in high purchasing tourists expected to benefit Marbella.

"In this edition our support at an institutional level is especially significant because we wanted to publicise the distinction of Marbella as the best European destination to visit in 2024, reflecting our commitment to quality and excellence," said the mayor Ángeles Muñoz, while adding, "The municipality receives more tourists from the Middle East, especially because of the direct connections with Malaga Airport, and our goal is to continue working in this area to consolidate this market."

A delegation from Marbella travelled to the capital of the United Arab Emirates where they held more than 80 meetings with agents at the fair, which mainly covers the entire area comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and which brings together six Arab countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). Given the geographical proximity to southeast Asia, India, China and Singapore, the town hall has also extended the promotion to these countries, where it is easier for them to participate in this event than in European travel fairs.

The fair was also attended by representatives of the main hotels in Marbella, such as Marbella Club, Don Pepe, Don Carlos, Boho Club, El Fuerte and Anfitrión. The fair was held at the Dubai World Trade Center and Marbella went alongside Turespaña and Turismo Andaluz.

 Breaking the seasonality 

One of the main characteristics of Middle Eastern tourists is their preference for luxury, making Marbella one of their favourite destinations in Europe. However, they prefer to travel in summer. "One of our challenges with this market is to break the seasonality and convince them to come in winter as well. The truth is that all the promotional material we brought with us has run out and the interest has been immense," said the director of Marbella Tourism, Laura de Arce, who added, "The hotels have managed to close bookings for the summer season at this fair," despite the fact that this tourist has a "last minute" profile.

De Arce pointed out an important meeting with an agency that organises all the holidays of public sector employees in the United Arab Emirates. "We are going to try to collaborate with them as a Marbella brand. The reservations will then be made by the hotels individually, but our intention is that they choose our destination," said de Arce, as it would be a high volume of visitors to whom "we would try to diversify the dates so they are not all at the same time".

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