Almosafer, the kingdom’s leading omni-channel travel brand, is revealing key insights into Saudi nationals’ travel preferences one month into open borders.
Top local destinations include Jeddah, Riyadh, Al Khobar and Dammam, while new trending destinations that gained popularity over the past year are Al Jubail, Abha and Jizan.
Destinations of interest beyond KSA within the MENA region include UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Egypt topping the list due to their proximity and familiarity, however, with Saudi International travellers prioritising quarantine free safe destinations a few new trending destinations have entered the top 20 list including Ukraine, one of Europe’s least explored treasures which is known for its variety of attractions, eccentric eateries, upbeat music and a dynamic art scene. Morocco has also emerged as a trending destination offering beautiful natural landscapes and beaches, rural and cultural heritage. Additionally, the Maldives are a top favourite amongst couples and families looking for a memorable beach escape full of relaxation.
The data analysed also revealed that Saudi nationals are opting for shorter trips abroad, (5 per cent shorter stays), and spending 5 per cent more per booking to achieve higher levels of comfort, convenience, and better social distancing options (16 per cent increase in business class and 14 per cent increase in first class bookings). With the ever-changing status of travel restrictions at various destinations, travellers' booking window has reduced by 30 per cent, Saudis are planning their trips less far ahead as they are making travel decisions based on current situations.
As for travel companions, the study shows a clear inclination towards travelling in smaller groups or pairs which could be attributed to Saudis wanting to test the waters at certain destinations before heading out with bigger groups and families. Searches indicate an average of 2 passengers per booking for International destinations compared to 2.5 passengers during the same period in 2019 before the pandemic.
Muzzammil Ahussain, Executive Vice President at Almosafer, said: “Based on the initial results we’ve seen through Almosafer’s booking and searches during the last month, we feel very optimistic about the future of the travel sector in KSA. Because of our in-depth consumer survey which we conducted earlier this year, we were able to better understand Saudis’ new travel preferences post the pandemic and offer them unparalleled travel advisory that enables them to plan their upcoming international and domestic trips with ease and convenience.”
“Due to the various travel restrictions in place worldwide, it was interesting to see the changes in the top 20 destinations mix which saw a few new emerging destinations that weren’t on Saudi nationals’ travel lists before such as Greece, Bosnia and Albania. Despite the opening of borders, we are pleased to see that domestic travel is still in demand and that our efforts in promoting domestic bookings are paying off. Through Almosafer’s domestic activities marketplace and expert travel advisory, we will continue to develop a diverse range of local unique experiences that Saudis can discover in their home country, with a focus on cultural and adventure experiences.”
Almosafer's dedicated team of experienced travel advisors provide a holistic customer support system offering 24/7 assistance, valuable insights, safety consultation, guidance, and reassurance throughout the omnichannel booking experience. This includes travel recommendations regarding travel requirements, destinations safety, airline operations and precautionary measures to take into consideration when travelling internationally.
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