The longest-standing travel provider in the United Arab Emirates, dnata Travel, has revealed the most popular travel destinations of the nation’s residents last year and the likely most popular destinations for 2020.

The top five most popular travel destinations for residents of the UAE in 2019 were the UAE itself for the increasingly popular ‘staycations’, followed by Thailand, Turkey, the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The top ten was rounded out by the Maldives, Italy, Egypt, Switzerland and finally Azerbaijan.

Experts at dnata Travel say that these countries seem likely to remain popular destinations of choice for UAE travellers this year, with residents getting more adventurous and increasingly likely to go further afield.

Head of product at dnata Travel, Emily Williams, says that the UAE remains the country’s favourite destination thanks to the popularity of the nation’s staycations at world-class hotels.

Beach, desert and island resorts have proven to be the most popular, and are likely to stay so this year with the much-anticipated launch of the Royal Atlantic Resort.

Thailand remains the number one destination of choice all year round for international travel, with a greater number of travellers heading to Koh Samui, a trend that is also predicted to continue this year.

The cultural capital of Turkey, Istanbul, remains very popular, and even more traffic will be driven there this year with the 2020 UEFA Champions League final being held there in May.

London is the UAE tourist hotspot for the UK, though there is also growing traction across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales thanks to their vibrant cities and rugged, memorable countryside.

Williams says that travel to Saudi Arabia is driven by religion, though the country’s amazing landscapes have seen a shift to leisure tourism that is expected to continue.

Luxury alpine resorts and world-class skiing make the Swiss Alps a popular choice for UAE travellers, and Baku in Azerbaijan and the Maldives are just a four-hour flight away from the UAE, providing a retreat that is nearer to home.

The beautiful architecture, cuisine and scenery make Italy a timeless favourite, and the opening of the new Grand Egyptian Museum in 2020 will see more UAE tourists flocking to Egypt this year.

With 2019’s popular destinations, current booking trends and some massive upcoming events, experts with dnata Travel are predicting that UAE tourists will also be embracing Russia, Japan, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and the Seychelles this year.

2019 saw a big increase in UAE tourism to Russia, and the trend is expected to continue this year with cities away from the popular choices of Moscow and St. Petersburg, such as Sochi, increasing in traction, according to Williams.

This summer, the Olympics is being staged in Japan, and the first Formula One edition to take place in Vietnam is being held in April, with the increasing popularity of sports travel likely to drive tourist traffic to these destinations this year.

Anyone who heads overseas from the UAE should take out travel insurance coverage before they go to ensure financial protection from unexpected events such as cancelled flights and overseas illness.


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