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The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a regional political organisation comprising the energy rich Gulf monarchies – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Since its establishment in Abu Dhabi in 1981, the GCC has promised to achieve ever closer union between the energy rich Gulf countries.
The GCC has some of the fastest growing economies in the world, mostly due to a boom in oil and natural gas revenues coupled with a building and investment boom backed by decades of saved petroleum revenues. In an effort to build a tax base and economic foundation before the reserves run out, the UAE's investment arms, including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, retain over $900 billion in assets. Other regional funds also have several hundreds of billions of dollars of assets under management.
The region is also an emerging hotspot for events, including the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. Doha also submitted an unsuccessful application for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Qatar was later chosen to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The GCC states all contain significant expatriate populations, with the populations of both UAE and and Qatar comprising nearly 90% foreign nationals.  From a travel perspective, these can be categorised in to four key groups, each with their own characteristics and preferences when it comes to travel.
  • 1.      GCC nationals: they generally take much longer holidays than other residents of the area.  They enjoy experiencing different landscape and scenery that can’t be experienced in the region.  They like to be made to feel welcome, small things such as showing the direction of Mecca in a hotel room can make a big difference to their opinions of a hotel.  They generally travel as a family; however the younger generation will also travel as a group of friends who enjoy experiencing the nightlife of a country as well as going on adventures and adrenaline sports.  For family travelers, shopping and attractions for the kids is very important.
  • 2.      Western Expatriates: generally like to travel to places that are hard to get to from their home countries.  If they are from Europe they like to go to Asia and Africa, if they are from Australasia they like to go to Africa and Europe.  They also generally travel as a family, but enjoy having much more authentic experiences than GCC nationals, tasting local food, interacting with people of the country, learning about history and culture and so on.
  • 3.      Arab Expatriates:  these are very similar to GCC nationals when it comes to both families and young FIT travelers.  The main difference is they generally don’t spend as much money, they generally take shorter vacations, and they tend to focus a lot more on enjoying the nightlife of a country.
  • 4.      Asian Expatriates: the focus for Asian Expatriates is very much on being able to have a relaxing time with the family.  They are generally far more price conscious than the other three categories, even if they are extremely well off.