Nearly half of Middle East luxury travellers plan to fly abroad in 2021

52% likely to take a staycation, according to YouGov study

Man in private jet airplane. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Man in private jet airplane. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Nearly half (46 percent) of luxury travellers in the Middle East intend to travel abroad this year, according to a new study by YouGov.

The survey, which also asked respondents about domestic holiday plans, found that more than half (52 percent) are planning to take a staycation this year.

The market research firm defines luxury travellers as those who tend to fly business or first-class and stay in five-star accommodations.

YouGov’s study was conducted for Reed Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which will take place in Dubai from May 16 to 19.

Decline in travel demand

Demand for travel in the Middle East and around the world slumped dramatically last year, as people put off business or holiday plans to avoid the risk of coronavirus infections.

Due to the decline in travel bookings, airlines have lost billions of dollars in revenues and cut thousands of jobs to survive the pandemic.

With the rollout of coronavirus vaccines worldwide, industry sources said they are expecting the aviation or travel industry to start bouncing back this year.

According to Danielle Curtis, exhibition director for the Middle East at Arabian Travel Market, people with higher disposable income in the region are more likely to tag their children along when they travel, compared with those in other markets.

“Luxury travellers from the Middle East are more likely to travel with their children, compared with those from other regions (40 percent versus 36 percent). And when you add that fact to their planned frequency of travel, it makes the Middle East’s outbound luxury travel sector, one of the most sought after globally,” Curtis said.

Preferred destinations

When asked where they would like to travel to, Middle East luxury travellers said they are keen on destinations with outstanding natural beauty (34 percent), beach holidays (34 percent), conducive climate (29 percent) and connectivity (28 percent).

A significant number of respondents are also most concerned about health risks of travelling (43 percent) as well as safety (35 percent).

“With vaccines being rolled out across the world, travel professionals operating in the luxury segment will welcome the insight this survey has provided, which affords them the opportunity to develop their marketing strategies for the Middle East region and beyond,” said Curtis.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

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© ZAWYA 2021

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