Saudi Arabia sees 110% rise in flight searches in March

The Skyscanner data showed that domestic flights within Saudi Arabia were the most searched for last month

Skyscanner. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Skyscanner. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia recorded a 110 percent month-on-month surge in people searching for flights in March, according to global online travel platform Skyscanner, as the Kingdom’s travelers get ready for international flights to reopen from May 17.

The Skyscanner data showed that domestic flights within Saudi Arabia were the most searched for last month, followed by international destinations in India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Egypt.

Flights were grounded in the Kingdom in March 2020. Domestic traffic resumed at the end of May 2020 and the Saudi General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) recently announced that international flights will resume by May 17, 2021.

In a bit to capitalize on this, Skyscanner has launched an Arabic language version of its platform on desktop and mobile web.

“We’re pleased to be able to offer travelers in the Middle East a far more relevant experience on desktop, allowing them to plan and book travel in their local language and currency,” Gavin Harris, director of strategic partnerships, Skyscanner, said in a press statement.

“Arabic is one of the 5th most spoken languages in the world and outbound travel from Saudi Arabia and the UAE accounts for a significant proportion of the total travel market,” he added.

In December, the “Global Holiday Intent” survey, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Reed Travel Exhibitions — organizer of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) exhibition in Dubai — found that 46 percent of those surveyed in Saudi Arabia said that they intended to travel internationally once restrictions were lifted.

Additional research released this week by global travel services company Collinson found that more than four fifths of business travelers in Saudi Arabia had seen their job affected in some way by a lack of cross-border business travel, and about one third of survey respondents said that they felt unable to do their job effectively.

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