Almosafer, the Kingdom’s leading omni-channel travel brand and the flagship brand of Seera Group’s Travel Unit, has released key insights and data into Saudi travellers’ preferences highlighting the top trends for the upcoming Eid travel season. Almosafer’s study examined consumers’ searches, bookings, and behaviour over the holy month of Ramadan compared to the same period pre-pandemic in 2019 and found healthy signs of travel as KSA travellers are keen to venture out and discover wholesome destinations as border restrictions ease or are eliminated regionally and globally.
Drilling down on Ramadan travel, Makkah emerged as the #1 destination for consumers in the Kingdom with over 50% of overall bookings, showing that religious tourism continues to gather pace and is recovering well from the pandemic and the new eased up government restrictions of Umrah has really encouraged more visits to Makkah.
Domestic city breaks also remained of interest with hotel bookings in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam increasing gradually placing these locations as the favourite destinations for travel within KSA and for our recently launched Chalets+ product it has seen a huge spike in bookings with more people having an appetite for alternative accommodations. With most travel restrictions being lifted during 2022, more Saudi travellers are venturing to travel abroad during Eid, as evidenced by travellers’ searches and behaviour. Among the most popular destinations for hotel bookings were Dubai, London, Sharm El Sheikh and Cairo, with the latter observing a sharp increase of 77% in bookings. Trending destinations for Eid in 2022 included Milan, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam with the latter two observing an increase in hotel bookings by 58% and 40% respectively for the Eid period with a 26% increase in flight bookings to Amsterdam. Among tropical destinations; Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives and Mauritius were top picks among Saudi consumers with Male (196% increase YoY), experiencing the highest number of bookings. Following the removal of restrictions to Thailand, Phuket and Bangkok surfaced as another destination of choice among Saudi travellers.
Consumers in the Kingdom have also begun travel planning for the summer with destinations such as Cairo, Dubai, Paris, London, Cannes, Monaco and Mykonos in high demand indicating a strong summer performance. Recently opened destinations such as Qatar and Bangkok were also experiencing resurgence in bookings following ease of restrictions and border reopenings.
Another key finding is the reduction of booking lead time from an average 25 days in 2019 to 17 days in 2022, which indicates a shorter planning horizon as consumers are quick to decide, plan and book travel following the prolonged restrictions and quarantine regulations of the past year. Commenting on the results, Muzzammil Ahussain, Executive Vice President, Consumer Travel at Seera Group said: " Since the pandemic began over two years, 2022’s Ramadan and Eid are the first with relatively limited travel restrictions. Following this exciting news, consumers have begun eagerly booking indicating that demand is back, which – we expect – will continue to surge throughout the summer period."