Saudi tourists spent £78m in London in 2012

Updated 29 August 2013
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Saudi tourists spent £78m in London in 2012

Initial estimates on foreign tourist purchases in London during this summer season are estimated to be worth £4 billion. Official statistics have not yet been disclosed.
The contribution of Arab citizens to this figure is estimated to be worth £1.3 billion, says the British Commercial Association.
The average spending of a Saudi tourist reached about £2,487, followed by that of the UAE at £2,395, then Kuwait at £1965 per head and Russia and Singapore at £1169 and £980 per head.
There has been a 36-percent increase in sales due to the contribution of Arab tourism in London. This is translated to a 13.5-percent increase in employment rates.
The positive effects of Arab tourism in the UK are not confined to the huge revenues reaped by shops and businesses as a result of Arab procurement, but also contributed to the revival of the hospitality sector as well.
Simon Jack, public relations officer at The Leonard Hotel Marble Arch in central London, said that GCC tourists, in particular those coming from Saudi Arabia and UAE, as well as Libya, spend long periods in London during the summer.
Jack said, “Some families spend more than three consecutive months sometimes.”
The phenomenon has prompted many hotels to offer services in the Arabic language and allocate spaces for prayers. London-bound Gulf tourism has raised rates of hotel occupancy.
Jack said: “Last year, estimates indicated that Saudis alone spent £78 million on hotel stays in London. They are expected to spend between £93 and £101 million this year.”
Most GCC tourists prefer to stay in apartments in central London. “This offers them more privacy and allows big and extended families to rationalize in expenditure,” he said.
Amid the huge spending by GCC tourist, the British government stands out as one of the biggest beneficiaries of these financial returns via the many channels available, mainly through taxes.
Peter Dey, tax expert at HM Revenue and Customs Department, said that tax benefits from GCC tourists to the British economy are categorized into several categorizes.
Dey said: “There is always this competition between Gulf and Russian tourists on who spends more during the season.
“But tourists coming from Russia, Hong Kong and Singapore are keen on restoring what they have paid in taxes as soon as they leave London because they are entitled to regain the proportion of taxes they paid while shopping according to the British law, unlike GCC tourists who often don’t bother to keep their invoices.”


Saudi Arabia praised for services and facilities for Hajj pilgrims

Updated 57 min 39 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia praised for services and facilities for Hajj pilgrims

  • Guests laud King Salman’s efforts to unify ranks
  • Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety

MAKKAH: King Salman received thanks from guests at Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Guests Program for welcoming and supporting pilgrims. They also thanked him for hosting them so that they can perform Hajj rituals. 

The king’s guests praised the services provided for them from the moment they arrived in the holy lands. This underscores the depth of the Saudi experience in dealing with crowds and successfully hosting millions of pilgrims each year.

Tatarstan’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Kamil Ismailov hailed the Kingdom’s efforts to ensure pilgrims’ comfort and safety.

“The expansion projects in the Two Holy Mosques and the holy sites, as well as the readiness of all medical and security teams, constitute strong evidence of Saudi Arabia’s capacities and ability to organize and manage the crowds with every Hajj season,” he added.

Ismailov pointed out that Muslims represent 70 percent of the population in Tatarstan, and that it is the first country in the region to adopt Islam as a state religion since 922.

Sheikh Mustafa Jusufspahic, the grand mufti of Belgrade, in Serbia, said that King Salman’s hosting of pilgrims from all over the world continues a tradition of the leadership of this blessed land assisting and unifying Muslims. It continues the path of good and giving by the Kingdom’s leaders toward Islamic work in the world, accounting for its prestigious position in the Muslim world, he added.

Jusufspahic expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his great gesture that enables Muslims to perform Hajj easily and conveniently. He praised all services offered in the program, which is supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.

Mohammed Amin, a professor from Ethiopia, who is making his first visit to Makkah, commended King Salman’s invitation to Muslims from all over the globe. He also saidthat the Ethiopian people were well aware of the financial and cultural support provided by the Kingdom.

The imam of the Central Mosque in Ethiopia, Ibrahim Khalil, expressed his admiration for the warm reception he and his delegation received upon their arrival, their speedy entry into the country and the journey to their residence.

Guinean Islamic preacher Mohammed Idris said the infrastructure and the scale of the preparations in Makkah reflect the tremendous efforts from all sectors there. “The Kingdom endeavors to develop organization and management of the Hajj season every year, a fact highly acclaimed among Muslims in Guinea, who consider Saudi Arabia to be the heart of the Islamic world,” he said.

Professor Bassim Berniavorates, from the faculty of medicine at the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia, said he was happy he had the opportunity to perform Hajj for the first time in his life, and was eager to meet Saudi people, to learn about their customs and traditions, and to visit popular markets that reflect the historical richness of Makkah.

He added that the Bosnian people were grateful for Saudi Arabia’s support throughout history, which has enabled them to overcome obstacles and crises and achieve their aspirations in building a civilized and democratic nation.

Bassim, a professor of anesthesia at the University Hospital in Sarajevo, noted that the program helped to extend bridges of communication with the world. “The Bosnians became more familiar with the Saudis and proud of this cultural fusion in the holiest parts of the earth,” said Bassim.

Dr. Mekhtbakh, from the Sports Academy in Kyrgyzstan, said that by visiting the holy land he had achieved a life-long dream. He expressed his thanks and appreciation to King Salman for his generous patronage and keenness to host Muslims from all over the world.