Longer trips and domestic leisure travel are becoming increasingly popular
Saudi-based travel company Almosafer has published a new report at Arabian Travel Market. The report reveals the latest travel trends of Saudi travellers venturing abroad and exploring their country domestically.
The report shows that the demand for domestic travel in the kingdom remains very strong, even despite the full resumption of international travel. In the year to date, domestic bookings have accounted for 56% of total bookings, up from 47% for the same period pre-pandemic in 2019.
Destinations including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Makkah and Abha continue to dominate, while trending destinations for trips within the country include AlUla, Taif and Najran.
Further afield, the top international destinations for Saudi travellers include Dubai, Cairo, London, Istanbul and Doha. Since the resumption of travel to Türkiye in the summer of 2022, the destination has catapulted its way back to one of the top choices for Saudi travellers.
Doha, on the other hand, has retained its appeal for Saudi travellers as a leisure destination, even after the World Cup in Q4 2022. Trending destinations include Rome, Bangkok and Seoul, with other Asian destinations also gaining popularity.
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In terms of booking channels, the data shows that 89% of total bookings are made online compared to 11% made offline, illustrating the seamless user experience offered by Almosafer’s omnichannel touchpoints, but also the need for advisory through WhatsApp, call centre or via retail branches for more complex itineraries. This is especially true for domestic bookings, where almost half (49%) of all bookings are placed via retail channels, indicating that Saudi travellers are seeking travel advisory services for leisure trips in their own country.
Almosafer’s report also shows that overall, Saudi travellers are spending more on longer trips. The average trip length has increased by 13% to 9.1 days, up from eight days in 2019, whereas the average order value has increased by 15% since pre-pandemic.
The data shows that this shift is even more amplified in domestic trips. While domestic travel used to be driven by shorter trips for purposes such as visiting family, friends or for special occasions, Saudis are now considering their own country as a destination to explore, as they spend more money on longer leisure trips in the kingdom.
Budget Air Travel
Travellers are also showing an increasingly strong preference for low-cost carriers over full service carriers when booking flights. In 2023, bookings for low-cost carriers accounted for 62% of total flight bookings, up from 47% in 2019, while bookings for full-service carriers decreased from 53% in 2019 to 38% in 2023. This increase in bookings for low-cost carriers reflects the increase in capacity and routes, and travellers are opting for more economical flight choices while choosing to instead spend more at their destination.
Other trends include an increase in the number of solo travellers who account for 24% of bookings in 2023, up from 14% in 2019; and for customers of Almosafer Concierge, the first luxury travel concierge service from Saudi Arabia, wellness experiences and luxury honeymoon island stays are emerging as the top trends.
Almosafer chief executive officer Muzzammil Ahussain said: “The incredible appetite for travel remains undiminished in the kingdom and our report shows that people continue to grasp opportunities to travel both internationally and domestically.
"They are spending more money on longer trips and meaningful experiences when they travel. What is also becoming apparent is that Saudi Arabia has become a leisure destination for many Saudis who are beginning to discover the wealth of attractions at their own doorstep.”
For more information, visit www.cms-cdn.almosafer.com
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