A report from ForwardKeys, which analyses over 17 million flight bookings a day, has revealed that the 2019 Feast of Sacrifice holiday is set to see a boom in outbound travel from GCC countries.
Currently, forward bookings for this year’s holiday period 30th July – 12th August are 10.0% ahead of last year’s holiday period, 8th – 21st August.
ForwardKeys market research manager Luis Millan said: “This is a real good news story. With the exception of Oman, all the major outbound markets are showing healthy growth and the same is true for the destinations. The one exception is India. It has suffered from the collapse of Jet Airways; however, various low-cost carriers have increased their seating capacity to meet the likely additional demand.”
The top ten destinations in order of size are: Turkey, Egypt, India, UK, UAE, Thailand, Germany, Pakistan, France and Lebanon.
When it comes to destination market growth, the USA heads the list, with bookings for the holiday period this year (30th July – 12th August) 35.7% ahead of the holiday period last year (8th – 25th August). It is followed by Indonesia, 32.4% ahead; Lebanon, 29.2% ahead; Spain, 27.5% ahead; Malaysia, 27.4% ahead; Italy, 23.9% ahead; Azerbaijan, 23.5% ahead; Germany, 22.9% ahead; Thailand 21.1% ahead and Jordan 19.8% ahead.
As for origin market growth, the UAE heads the list, with outbound bookings for the holiday period this year 19.7% ahead of the holiday period last year. It is followed by Kuwait, 13.9% ahead; Bahrain, 4.7% ahead and Saudi Arabia, 4.4% ahead. Outbound bookings from Oman were 7.2% behind.
One of the factors behind the high growth in bookings from the UAE has been a drive by the UAE government to make international travel easier for its citizens, by striking deals with other countries to relax visa requirements.
The policy has clearly paid off, as there has been substantial growth in travel from the UAE to the countries with relaxed entry requirements. These are: Russia - 279.1% ahead; South Africa - 46.3% ahead; China, 26.3% ahead; Pakistan 19.7% ahead and Canada, 14.9% ahead.