Travellers in the United Arab Emirates are taking shorter holidays and planning more trips at the last minute, according to the online global travel business Cleartrip.
Travellers all across the GCC are now more likely to take more frequent but shorter trips, and there is a decline in the number of people who spend months planning to take holidays of two to three weeks in the summer.
More travellers went to Egypt than anywhere else, with the most popular summer trip destination being Cairo – second place went to Kochi in India, and Manila in the Philippines was third place.
Traveller interest in 2019 was piqued by the likes of Istanbul, which experienced an increase in searches on Cleartrip by as much as 62% in comparison to 2018.
Sylhet in Pakistan, Kathmandu in Nepal, and Boston in the US were all trending destinations, along with Manchester in the UK, which experienced an increase in traffic of as much as 29%.
Cleartrip’s chief business officer Amit Taneja says that it was the younger generation of travellers who are largely responsible for the new trending destinations, a lot of which has to do with where capacity is being put by airlines, with interest in Manchester increasing because Emirates is now flying there.
However, millennial travellers, in particular, want to travel more and to explore different destinations and gain new experiences rather than go to the same place year after year.
Cleartrip says that 32% of UAE travellers booked trips that lasted between just one and six days during the summer of 2019, in comparison to just 12% who booked holidays that lasted two to three weeks.
People are also going on holiday more often, with an average of two trips taken by most people in the first six months of this year.
The great majority of travellers from the UAE were booking flights later – less than eight days ahead of their travel date – with last-minute bookings being made by 31% of desktop computer users and 38% of mobile users.
There was also an increase in same-day bookings, particularly with mobile devices, and 3% of all GCC bookings on Cleartrip in the first half of 2019 were last-minute flight reservations.
Airfares have also been on the decline across the GCC – the biggest fall in flight prices has come in Saudi Arabia, with a 25% decline in Riyadh to Dammam summer fares compared to the first six months of 2018.
Fares between Dubai and Jeddah have also been reduced in the UAE, with prices falling by as much as 12% in comparison to last year.
The largest fall in fares is from Abu Dhabi to Kozhikode, down 10%.
However, the prices of flights from the UAE to some Indian cities have increased due to some routes being affected by the closure of Jet Airways and the Boeing 777 Max being grounded.
Anyone planning to travel from the UAE or elsewhere in the GCC to a foreign country should take out travel insurance to defend against the financial consequences of stolen items, injuries or illnesses while away from home.