This holiday season, UAE residents are escaping to regional destinations such as Middle East and Levant countries, a new report by Dubai-based online flight and hotel booking platform tajawal said.
“Middle East and Levant countries are the top choice for UAE holidaymakers,” said tajawal, adding that an increase in flight bookings to destinations that are a short flight away from UAE was witnessed.
“Most people think of Europe when looking for a winter getaway, however, the upcoming holiday season sees a change as UAE residents choose nearby regional destinations over far-flung popular winter holiday cities,” it added.
A paradise for nature-lovers, Sri Lanka continues to be one of the favourite vacation hotspots with increased flight bookings to Colombo followed by the capital city of Oman, Muscat for its rich heritage, dazzling souks, superb seafood and close proximity to the country’s breathtaking scenery and diverse terrain including majestic mountains, dramatic deserts, sandy beaches and serene coastlines.
Vibrant and fascinating historical cities such as Istanbul in Turkey and Baku in Azerbaijan are amongst the top five destinations that UAE residents are planning to explore during the end of November-December holidays. Interestingly, the data also shows growth in the number of people heading to London, probably to experience magical festivities and snowy winters.
As per the flight bookings on tajawal, majority of UAE holiday makers are travelling for an average period of nine days to either explore destinations that are affordable and relatively short flight away from the UAE or visit their hometowns in Beirut, Amman and Cairo.
Muzzammil Ahussain, EVP of tajawal said: “In terms of travel trends for the upcoming holiday season, we witnessed a boom in flight bookings to regional and close-to-home destinations as UAE residents and citizens explore Oman, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka. Although low-cost airlines continue to gain popularity among travellers with their value-for-money fares, the full-service airlines have emerged as the preferred choice with 43% of total bookings.”
Tajawal observed that residents are opting for extended holidays with the average length of hotel stays up from four to six days compared to 2018.
The data also indicates robust growth of 15 percent in demand for three-star accommodations with 34 percent bookings as compared to 19 percent in 2018. Upscale four-star hotels have also increased in popularity with two percent as opposed to luxurious 5-star hotel reservations that declined by 18 percent to 21 percent versus 39 percent last year as increasing numbers of people explore distinct experiences with mid-range and budget hotels.
Full-service airlines appear to be the most successful category in air travel among UAE nationals and residents for end-of-the-year holidays. The demand for full-service network carriers have soared by 11 percent as 43 percent customers booked a full-service flight versus 32 percent in 2018. On the other hand, the low-cost carrier bookings dropped by 11 percent to 57 percent from 68 percent.