WEGO AND CLEARTRIP REPORT REVEALS GULF TOURISTS’ READINESS TO TRAVEL IN A POST-COVID WORLD
The new Travel Insights Report from Wego and Cleartrip delves into the sentiments and readiness to travel in a post-Covid world of travellers from UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Around 4,390 residents from UAE and Saudi Arabia were asked about their thoughts, and behaviours towards travel in the Wego and Cleartrip report. The study also highlights the impact of Covid-19 on travel, the trends currently being witnessed and positive signs of recovery.
According to the report’s findings, the near-term outlook for travel looks favourable, and people are looking to spend more and travel longer in 2022.
After numerous lockdowns, never ending changes to restrictions and the constant updates on flights, airport protocols and hotel capacity changes, the report revealed that many people are still eager to travel albeit being a bit more cautious. In the survey, 53% of all survey respondents said they were ‘very likely’ take a trip while 25% said they were ‘likely’ to travel.
Vaccination came out as one of the main conditions for travel in the report. Ninety-nine percent of the respondents said they were vaccinated. The increase in the number of vaccinated people across the globe has had a positive impact on travel and offers extra reassurance for people to travel more to the countries that have high vaccination rates.
As more worldwide restrictions are eased, people appear eager to travel more. According to Wego, in 2022, flight and hotel searches increased by 81% in February and 102% in March.
Results from the report showed that lower risk destinations that guarantee an easy return are being prioritised. The majority of the respondents said they would opt for destinations which are perceived to be safe and where Covid-19 protocols have been adhered to.
With more people continuing to work remotely in 2022, hotels are seeing a great demand regardless of seasonality. The Wego study saw a spike of 136% in the number of searches on holiday homes, a 92% jump in hotel apartments and 69% in apartments. The length of stay has also increased by 19% in 2022 in comparison with 2021.
In the hotel field, Gulf travellers are rather opting for 5-star hotels which follow stricter measures and give them a safer travel experience. Wego saw an increase of 66% in searches for 5-star hotels.
Trip Expenses and destinations
Seventy-nine percent of survey respondents said they had witnessed an increase in Covid19 requirements, a soar in ticket prices and unexpected circumstances leading to flight changes, which contributed to a 20% increase in their trip expenses post-Covid-19.
Wego and Cleartrip also saw an increase in the average cost of air fares in 2022 compared to 2019. The average round-trip fares to and from the UAE increased by 23%. Furthermore, round-trip airfares to the Middle East region increased by 20%; to Europe by 39% and to South Asia by 5% -including a jump of 21% for India alone.
Trip cancellations are, however, going back to a more normal volume. Prior to the Covid pandemic, cancellations were on average around 6-7%. After reaching a high of 519% at the start of the pandemic in 2020, cancellations are expected to move back to pre-Covid figures at 7-8%. The survey also saw a return in advance ticket purchase.
According to the survey, the most booked international destinations for travellers from both UAE and Saudi Arabia will mostly be regional or to South Asia. The popularity of countries in Asia, is likely due to a large proportion of the workforce originating from the Indian Sub-continent.
For the UAE, the most booked destinations are Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, Qatar and Turkey. In Asia – India, the Maldives, Nepal and Pakistan are the most popular. Favoured international destinations for travellers from Saudi Arabia are Bahrain, Bangladesh, Egypt, Philippines, Qatar and the UAE. The most booked destinations from other are Egypt, India, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE.
Both Wego and Cleartrip experienced an increase of 100% in planned trips of four to seven days and of 75% for planned trips of eight to eleven days.