Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries
(Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)
There are two types of customer from GCC countries – GCC nationals and English speaking expats. In the region of 500,000 visitors come from GCC countries to Europe each year mostly for leisure (82%) but also for business (18%).
There are important cultural issues to attend to for GCC nationals such as provision of halal food, privacy, and non-promotion of alcohol, but there are also opportunities to attract tourists with culture and heritage and luxury hotel breaks.
The expat market is easier to target due to the absence of a language barrier and an existing awareness of Northern Ireland.
15 million Indian residents engage in outbound travel each year with 50% of these being for leisure purposes. The UK is the fifth most popular destination for Indian travellers and the top European destination. There is a growing number of Indian visitors to the island of Ireland with over 20,000 tourists in 2012 with the vast majority of visitors aged 25-55. They come in group tours or self-drive and the Giant’s
Causeway and Titanic Belfast feature on the top 5 attractions on the island. Flexibility in pricing is important as India is a very price sensitive market.
Over 600,000 South Africans visit Europe each year with the top destination being the UK with 40% travelling for leisure and 40% travelling for business reasons and staying on average 7-10 days.
The most responsive target market is likely to be English speaking South Africans aged over 45 who will seek excellent service and good value. The Giant’s Causeway and Titanic Belfast feature high on the list of visitor attractions and the lack of a language barrier makes it easier to share information and retain an ongoing relationship. Sports tourism is another potential market and there are also many South Africans with ancestral links to the island of Ireland.
Numbers of Chinese outbound tourists are growing rapidly and are expected to surpass the 100 million per year mark by the end of 2015; a statistic that has tourism destinations around the globe increasing their marketing efforts in China. Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland are also experiencing growth, with up to 40,000 arriving in 2013. The target market for Northern Ireland is made up of the more affluent Chinese nationals aged between 25 and 55. They come for the city vibe, scenery, history and culture, and friendly people and; they see the Giant’s Causeway and Titanic Belfast as being in the top 3 attractions on the island of Ireland. World Heritage Sites in general are a key attractor for Chinese visitors, thus maximising links to the Giant’s Causeway is seen as advantageous.