Technological advances, widening markets and increasing fares continue to spur the region’s travel industry, according to latest research by the region’s largest online travel agency, Cleartrip. As the region moves into a more digital age,
The Cleartrip and Flyin 2019 H1 & Summer Travel Insights Report has unravelled some of the most significant changes impacting travel. As competition increases across some routes, it has triggered price drops of up to 25%. Routes from Riyadh to Dammam saw an average decrease in airfares of 25%, while Dubai to Jeddah airfares decreased by 12%.
Short breaks continued to grow in popularity with new and classical destinations proving resilient, including Istanbul, Amman and Beirut, while the biggest drop was seen in traditionally popular cities, London (13%) and Paris (10%).
The UAE’s savvy travellers proved to be the biggest users of coupons and deals in 2019, and one third of travellers were happy to book with as little as one week or less notice. In Saudi, a massive 63% of travellers booked within a week of their travel date. While mobile bookings continue to boom, Saudi Arabia remained strong, seeing transactions rise by 145%. Elsewhere, in Kuwait, mobile transactions grew by 287% in the first half of 2019, and Oman, 181%. It has been a challenging year for many reasons, meaning market growth has been slower than previous years, with KSA growing by 7% and the UAE by 1%.
Stuart Crighton, CEO, Cleartrip, said: “It has been a very interesting year, and we are pleased to see that some of the region’s major players, are still growing, in spite of the various challenges 2019 has brought. What we’re witnessing here is a massive shift towards digital habits. In the current climate, not only are there changes with where people want to go and what they want to experience, but how and when they book is changing. We have seen that short trips and last-minute bookings are more common, as people become increasingly curious for undiscovered destinations in the region. This is an era of rapid change. Trips are now readily available in the palm of people’s hands and they are increasingly affordable with ever more routes opening. What this latest report shows us is that whatever is happening in the region, travel remains a key part of the economy here, regionally and internationally.”