Egypt Top Destination for Saudi Travelers, UAE Takes Second Place

Published April 23rd, 2018 - 12:00 GMT
By March 31, bookings made in Saudi Arabia to Egypt increased by nearly 190,000. (Shutterstock)
By March 31, bookings made in Saudi Arabia to Egypt increased by nearly 190,000. (Shutterstock)

The countries that have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travelers in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) in the last 12 months are Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Turkey, according to analysis conducted by Travelport, the leading Travel Commerce Platform.

From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, bookings made in the KSA through all global distribution systems (GDS) to the Egypt increased by nearly 190,000, up 17% on the previous 12 months. Bookings to the UAE rose by over 70,000, up 13%, and to Turkey by just over 65,000, up 31%.

Global distribution systems (GDS) are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel related items. Globally in 2017, Travelport alone processed 1 trillion transactions through its three GDS: Galileo, Worldspan and Apollo.

Matthew Powell, Travelport’s Managing Director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, said: “Growth in flight bookings tends to be driven by increased airline capacity, rises in demand from leisure travelers, economic and political advances, which attract more interest in trade and investment, and major construction projects that require large international labor force. The results we’re seeing here cut across all of these.

The growth in booking volume to Egypt reflects the deepening of Saudi Arabia’s economic ties with the country. The expanding Egyptian expatriate community in the Kingdom will also have had an impact. The UAE continues to perform well, primarily due to airline capacity increases and the introduction of new attractions in the Emirates driving additional tourism. In Turkey, the aviation industry as a whole experienced a resurgence in 2017. The airport in Ankara registered record market share, for example, and traffic to tourist hotspots like Antalya picked up significantly. The data suggests visitors from Saudi Arabic played their part in boosting these figures.

Bangladesh and Pakistan completed the top five positions in the table compiled by Travelport. Bangladesh saw an increase of over 50,000 (+12%) in bookings made in the KSA through all GDS, while Pakistan recorded a rise of just under 50,000 (+6%). Out of the 10 countries with the largest volume growth, the biggest movers in terms of percentage were Kuwait, which saw an increase in flight bookings made in the KSA through all GDS of 53% during the last 12 months, and Ethiopia, which registered a rise of 42%.

Powell added: “Over the years, Travelport has invested significantly in developing analytics products for travel agents and airlines as we recognize the scale of the impact they can have on their bottom line. Even relatively straight forward booking analysis, like we have done here, can help travel agents evolve the packages they offer in line with traveler demand. It can also support airlines in identifying needs to dial up or down flight capacity on certain routes. We are already seeing business won and lost through the effective analysis of industry, business and competitive data, and this will only happen more in the years to come as companies become more sophisticated in how they use it.”

Travelport will participate in the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai for the 10th consecutive year. Its stand (TT1320) will include demo pods that allow visitors to experience how the company helps travel agents and airlines drive revenue by delivering intelligence through analytics tools like Travelport Business Insights and Travelport Competitive Insights. The pods will also showcase how the company provides real-time access to a wide variety of high quality travel content and enables companies to engage travelers throughout their travel journey by using mobile applications like Trip Assist. 

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