According to a trends report released by Dubai-based online flight and hotel booking platform, tajawal, South East Asia is the summer hotspot for the UAE travellers. With its wealth of culture and vibrant street life, Bangkok leads the way with flight bookings up 164% compared to last year, closely followed by the cosmopolitan island paradise of Bali, up 150% over the same period. Outbound bookings to dynamic Kuala Lumpur with its gleaming skyscrapers and food stall-lined streets have also rocketed by 130% over the figures from 2018.
The popularity of South East Asia supports this year’s wider trend of UAE residents choosing overseas destinations over local staycations for their holidays. International hotel bookings on tajawal have increased to 74% this year from 45% in 2018 whilst domestic stays declined to 26% versus 55% last year. Mid-range boutique and upscale four-star hotels have also increased in popularity versus their luxury counterparts as travellers seek authentic experiences in cities across the globe.
Closer to home, Istanbul with its rich history and lively entertainment holds its position as one of the leading destinations for UAE travellers and South Caucasus tourism continues to grow with culture seekers and outdoor adventurers heading to Baku in Azerbaijan.
“City breaks remain the most popular choice for holidays from the UAE.”
Tajawal is also seeing the trend of multiple short breaks declining, with UAE residents taking longer holidays overseas. The average length of stay based on flight booking data has increased by 70% to 17 days as travellers look further afield to explore diverse cultures and climates. Many are also capitalising on the longer public holidays in 2019 to make the most of their vacation time.
Muzzammil Ahussain, executive vice president of tajawal said, “It’s interesting to see more UAE residents and citizens heading overseas this year and particularly to South East Asia, which is a relatively short flight away. City breaks remain the most popular choice for holidays from the UAE, with places like Singapore topping the list alongside Bangkok and Istanbul. Here in the UAE, we have a real appetite to see the world, demonstrated by an increase in spent of 30% and 50% on flights and hotels respectively across our booking platform.”
The average group size is also increasing in 2019, up 15% versus 2018 as more families and friends escape to cooler climes.