Sunday, July 14, 2024

Almosafer’s new report reveals latest travel trends for Saudi travelers

Almosafer, Saudi Arabia’s leading travel company, has published a new report at the Arabian Travel Market, which reveals the latest travel trends of Saudi travelers venturing abroad and exploring their Kingdom domestically.

The report shows that the top international destinations for Saudi travelers include Dubai, Cairo, London, Istanbul and Doha. Since the resumption of travel to Türkiye in the summer of 2022, the destination has catapulted its way back to one of the top choices for Saudi travelers. Doha, on the other hand, has retained its appeal for Saudi travelers as a leisure destination, even after the World Cup in Q4 2022. Trending destinations include Rome, Bangkok and Seoul, with other Asian destinations also gaining popularity.

The report shows that the demand for domestic travel in the Kingdom remains very strong, even despite the full resumption of international travel. In the year to date, domestic bookings have accounted for 56 per cent of total bookings, up from 47 per cent for the same period pre-pandemic in 2019. On the domestic side, all-time favorite domestic destinations Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Makkah and Abha continue to dominate, whilst trending destinations for trips within KSA include AlUla, Taif and Najran.

In terms of booking channels, the data shows that 89% of total bookings are made online compared to 11% made offline, illustrating the seamless user experience offered by Almosafer’s omnichannel touchpoints, but also the need for advisory through WhatsApp, call centre or via retail branches for more complex itineraries. This is especially true for domestic bookings, where almost half (49 per cent) of all bookings are placed via retail channels, indicating that Saudi travelers are seeking travel advisory services for leisure trips in their own country.

Almosafer’s report also shows that overall, Saudi travelers are spending more on longer trips. The average trip length has increased by 13 per cent to 9.1 days, up from 8 days in 2019, whereas the average order value has increased by 15 per cent since pre-pandemic.

The data shows that this shift is even more amplified in domestic trips. While domestic travel used to be driven by shorter trips for purposes such as visiting family, friends or for special occasions, Saudis are now considering their own country as a destination to explore, as they spend more money on longer leisure trips in the Kingdom.

There has also been a significant increase in the average length of domestic trips of 36 per cent to 5-day trips in 2023 compared to 3.7 days in 2019. Longer trips mean that travelers are also spending more money with the average order value for domestic trips increasing by 40 per cent in 2023 compared to 2019. The average booking window for domestic travel has also increased by 12 per cent to 7.7 days in 2023, up from 6.9 days in 2019, suggesting that Saudis are spending more time to plan their domestic trips.

Overall, bookings for five-star hotels have also increased from 46 per cent of total hotel bookings in 2019 to 52 per cent in 2023. This increase in spending mirrors the global trend as people are choosing more luxurious and meaningful experiences since travel has rebounded. Domestically, Saudis are also spending more money on luxury accommodation now that there is a wider range of options available with the introduction of luxury hotels and resort brands to the Kingdom in locations such as AlUla.

Travelers are also showing an increasingly strong preference for low-cost carriers over full service carriers when booking flights. In 2023, bookings for low-cost carriers accounted for 62 per cent of total flight bookings, up from 47 per cent in 2019, while bookings for full-service carriers decreased from 53 per cent in 2019 to 38 per cent in 2023. This increase in bookings for low-cost carriers reflects the increase in capacity and routes, and travelers are opting for more economical flight choices while choosing to instead spend more at their destination.

Other trends include an increase in the number of solo travelers who account for 24 per cent of travelers in 2023, up from 14 per cent in 2019; and for customers of Almosafer Concierge, the first luxury travel concierge service from Saudi Arabia, wellness experiences and luxury honeymoon island stays are emerging as the top trends.

Muzzammil Ahussain, Chief Executive Officer of Almosafer, said: “The incredible appetite for travel remains undiminished in the Kingdom and our report shows that people continue to grasp opportunities to travel both internationally and domestically. They are spending more money on longer trips and meaningful experiences when they travel. What is also becoming apparent is that Saudi Arabia has become a leisure destination for many Saudis who are beginning to discover the wealth of attractions at their own doorstep.”

As a national champion of tourism in Saudi Arabia, Almosafer will continue to capitalize on growing demand for tourism, catering the needs of its customers and supporting the tourism agenda of Saudi Vision 2030.

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