Sunday, June 4, 2023

Saudi travel bookings pick momentum, top pre-Covid levels by 28pc

Volume of bookings in Saudi Arabia for consumer travel in June 2022 has exceeded pre-pandemic levels of June 2019 by 28 per cent, according to data revealed by Almosafer, a leading travel brand in the Middle East.

The growth in bookings reveals a strong appetite for consumer travel as pent-up demand is unleashed with the removal of pandemic restrictions across the world. Data collated from across Almosafer’s omnichannel booking platforms has revealed the booking behaviors of Saudi travelers for this summer period.

Saudi travelers continue to enjoy luxury experiences, opting to book stays at luxury accommodation with five-star hotels accounting for almost 50 per cent of hotel bookings this summer. As people return to travel, they are spending more money for meaningful experiences as average order values for bookings has increased by 66 per cent for hotels and 19 per cent for flights, compared to the summer travel season in 2019.

Travelers are also displaying resilient confidence in the travel industry as they continue to book their holidays in advance, with an average booking window of 36 days in summer 2022. With travel restrictions being eased, or removed entirely, across the world, there are now much less sudden changes to international travel rules which could jeopardize travel plans leading to growing consumer confidence.

Spending on domestic travel in Saudi Arabia has also increased by 7 per cent as Saudis continue to explore the many attractions in the Kingdom. Abha, the culturally rich capital of the Aseer region, is becoming an increasingly popular destination this summer with bookings up by 125 per cent compared to summer 2019.

For international travel, Dubai, London, Cairo, Paris and Sharm El Sheikh ranked as the most popular destinations for Saudi travelers. Bookings for London this summer have increased by 133 per cent compared to summer 2019, driven by the introduction of the electronic visa waiver for Saudi nationals on June 1, 2022. Bookings for Paris this summer have also increased by 65 per cent compared to summer 2019 as Saudis eagerly return to a longstanding favourite destination as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

In terms of top trending destinations, with the announcement of the exemption of Saudi nationals from entry visas to visit Thailand on June 7, 2022, the country is now one of the most sought after destinations for international travel.

Türkiye has immediately become an exceedingly popular destination for Saudi travelers, as the destination catapulted to one of the top 3 choices since the announcement that Saudis are permitted to visit the country on 20 June.

Muzzammil Ahussain, Executive Vice President, Almosafer, said: “Confidence in travel has been fully restored as we experience unprecedented demand for consumer travel. Saudi travelers are eager to make the most of the season this summer following the pandemic years of restricted travel and are opting for destinations that are either all-time favorites or newly accessible. Overall, Almosafer consumer data reveals that travel is well and truly back and we are excited for the season as we continue to meet this increasing demand by providing the very best products and services for our customers.”

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