UAE travellers wake up to 'sleep tourism', picking destinations where they can rest

Trends are shifting away from experiences to sleep as people want to switch off and spend time away from gadgets


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 11:44 PM

Travelling for adventure or experience is passé; sleep tourism is a growing trend among UAE travellers. A new study has found that people in the Emirates are increasingly showing interest in destinations that prioritise a good night's sleep for visitors.

Sleep tourism, a specialised travel niche, caters to individuals seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, and immersive sleep-centric experiences during their journeys.

Industry executives say that trends are shifting away from experiences to sleep in the travel and tourism sector as travellers want to switch off and spend time away from their gadgets and screens.

Conducted by OnePoll, a survey released by global travel site Skyscanner on Wednesday showed that 80 per cent of people in the UAE are more conscious of sleep quality than a few years ago. The survey was conducted in August 2023, covering 1,000 UAE respondents.

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According to Skyscanner, 46 per cent of UAE travellers say they’re not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night, with 59 per cent stating they feel the need for a sleep retreat remedy in 2024.

Around 63 per cent of the UAE respondents said they sleep better when they’re on holiday. Based on reviews on Skyscanner, the best destinations for a great night’s sleep are Hội An (Vietnam), Santorini and Rome.

It was also found that sleep topped the board of UAE travellers’ main activities for their next holidays at 24 per cent, followed by snow sports (21%), sporting events (20%) and heading to a gallery (19%).

Julie Mallon, a UAE sleep expert and founder of Nurture 2 Sleep, said in February 2023 there was a 1,110 per cent increase in searches for sleep retreats, so this reflects where the demand is going.

Julie Mallon
Julie Mallon

“Sleep tourism is a specialised travel niche where travellers are now looking to find things that are very much sleep-centric – things that will support their sleep. One of the main reasons is that post-pandemic, everybody’s sleep was impacted in a very negative way, whether it was physiological or psychological. One of the biggest negative outcomes of the pandemic was sleep disruption.”

Many years ago, she added, when people went on holidays, it was all about experiences and enjoying the thrills.

“But now we are seeing these things daily. So going on holiday is getting away completely from everyday routine. In a world that is 24/7, we are getting away from the stress of work. It is also worth noting that it is not just about duration of the sleep but also about quality of sleep.”

She revealed that jet lag is when a human being’s biological clock is in a one-time zone - back in the home environment – but the body and brain are in a new time zone, so they are out of sync.

“We are living in a society which never turns off,” she said during the launch of the survey.


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