Travel trends shift as UAE residents explore new destinations

Travel trends shift as UAE residents explore new destinations

With summer around the corner, travel operators are currently getting their business strategies in order as travel trends shift with UAE residents exploring new destinations



by

Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Sun 28 Apr 2019, 9:31 AM

Last updated: Sun 28 Apr 2019, 11:36 AM

Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East North Africa (Mena) region, has ranked Egypt number one in terms of the trending flight destinations during summer for Mena travellers followed by India, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, USA, Kuwait and Jordan.
"We have also observed that over 50 per cent of people tend to search their flights using smartphones and we believe this trend will increase in 2019. When it comes to the trip duration, 55 per cent of travellers in 2019 booked a 12+ day flight compared to 39 per cent in 2018," said Mamoun Hmedan, Director, MENA, Wego Middle East.
"As for the top searched destinations for hotels, Egypt ranked first followed by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, UAE, US, UK, Malaysia, Kuwait, Thailand and France. In 2019, 50 per cent of travellers who searched for hotels looked for a 12-day stay compared to 40 per cent in 2018. In 2019, over 45 per cent of travellers searched for hotels using smartphones compared to 34 per cent last year.
"In 2018, the average number of people who searched for flights and hotels was split between 20 per cent families, 25 per cent couples and 55 per cent solos. As for the trend for 2019, the mix is looking like 48 per cent couples, 36 per cent solo and the remaining 15 per cent families."
Europe in demand
The general consensus among the travel operators in the market seems very optimistic with the UAE residents usually taking lead in exploring new places.
Himanshu Sampat, Business Head UAE, Cox & Kings Tours, said: "During summer expats go for short breaks, and other group guests start planning for their forthcoming Eid holidays. This year, to our surprise, there has been a surge in new destinations like Prague, Belgrade, Baltics whereas conventional packages of Georgia, Azerbaijan has slow movement compared to last year.
"Europe has been one of the key sellers as always followed by US which has picked up so well to our surprise. Europe with a wider range of offering and flight deals beginning from Dh2,499 is a steal deal thanks to our airline connectivity from the UAE."
Similarly, Lakshmi Anand, Operation Manager, International Travel Services, Division of Galadari Group, said: "This year, during summer, our focus is mainly on Umrah packages, as compared to last year due to competitive packages extended by the airlines and the hotels. They are competitive when compared to 2018.

"This year airlines have also extended extremely competitive deals for Eid holidays for destinations such as Georgia, Jordan, Egypt and Seychelles' which are also being anticipated to do well this Eid."
Staycations are ever on the rise with more people booking hotel stays in the UAE. Hotel bookings for Dubai specifically have already increased by 41 per cent compared to bookings in January 2018, with an increased booking window of 51 per cent [10 to 15 days].

People are also venturing into other emirates with bookings to Ras Al Khaimah for instance, increasing by almost 22 per cent from January 2018, according to Tajawal, Middle East-based flights and hotel booking online travel platform.

Muzzammil Ahussain, Executive Vice President, Al Tayyar Travel, said: "In terms of trending destinations, a few new contenders for the top destinations have emerged with Baku, Paris, Goa, Riyadh and Vienna being amongst the top searched destinations this summer."
 
- sandhya@khaleejtimes.com


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