An overall growth of 8% in the UAE hospitality sector was recorded An overall growth of 8% in the UAE hospitality sector was recorded

Overall tourist spending in the UAE increased by 10% in the first three quarters of 2015, compared to the same period last year.

The food and beverage sector witnessed the highest growth, increasing 30% year-on-year, according to a new report on consumer spends by Network International.

An overall growth of 8% in the hospitality sector, based on credit and debit card transactions in the UAE, was recorded by the recent study.

Research found a decline in spending from Russian tourists (-48%), balanced by a 90% increase in spending by Qataris.

Saudi Arabian spending grew 25%, while a 23% increase in British spending was also recorded.

Story continues below

"The third quarter data indicates a major trend for local retailers -- domestic and GCC spends, specifically Saudis and Qataris, have gained influence in the UAE markets displacing traditional top spenders such as the Chinese and Russians. Our analysis also provides the hospitality industry with insight on bolstering weakening RevPAR (revenue per available room) revenues as the F&B sector witnesses strong spends across all nationalities," said Network International COO David Mountain.

The luxury sector declined 7%, driven by a fall in Russian and Chinese spending, which accounted for 25% of the overall spend last year.

Russians spends declined by 74%, and they were replaced by Saudis as one of the top tourist spenders.