Saudis return to the skies as borders reopen, agency reveals

Over 90% of the survey respondents said they were planning to travel abroad within the first six months of the border reopening

  
Saudi women walk near the former execution site, which has been turned into a cultural showcase, titled "Riyadh's Pulse", in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 7, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Saudi women walk near the former execution site, which has been turned into a cultural showcase, titled "Riyadh's Pulse", in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 7, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri
 
DUBAI: Booking trends are showing signs of recovery a month into Saudi Arabia’s reopening of borders, a top travel agency revealed.


Almosafer, owned by Seera Group, said the agency has recovered 76 percent of total bookings compared to the same time in 2019.

This is still expected to grow by the last quarter of the year to exceed pre-pandemic booking volume as more travel restrictions are lifted, it said.

Over 90 percent of the survey respondents said they were planning to travel abroad within the first six months of the border reopening, the company added.

Domestic travel has kept its upward momentum, Almosafer noted, as more Saudis and other residents explore local tourism developments.

“Despite the opening of borders, we are pleased to see that domestic travel is still in demand and that our efforts in promoting domestic bookings are paying off,” Muzzammil Ahussain, EVP at Almosafer, said.

Top destinations include Jeddah, Riyadh, Al-Khobar, and Dammam.

Outside the Kingdom, destinations that were popular among Saudis were the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and Egypt, as well as Ukraine and Morocco.

Maldives also featured as a favorite mostly for couples and families.

Data showed Saudi nationals were opting for shorter trips, and spending 5 percent more per booking.

“Based on the initial results we’ve seen through Almosafer’s booking and searches during the last month, we feel very optimistic about the future of the travel sector in KSA,” Ahussain said.

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