As we moved close to the holiday season post Ramadan, the ranking of popular destinations for the Middle East & Africa (MEA) travelers changed. Turkey, which was the top destination last year, dropped to third in Q1 and fifth in Q2, according to the Q2 Global Travel Insights by Sojern.
Egypt gained by moving from the 6th slot in the most popular destination in Q1 to 4th position in Q2. Bahrain showed the highest percentage growth (188 percent) in travel intent from June 30 and July 1 compared to the week before. Qatar follows with a 164 percent growth followed by, in order, Iraq, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates.
Regional trips increased from 15 percent to 25 percent of all travel after Ramadan and June 20 and July 1 remain the most popular departure dates.
The report also entails the travel trends expected in Q3 with the MEA travelers’ top five short-haul destinations including Cairo, Dubai, Amman, Tel Aviv and Beirut. The top five long-haul destinations are New York City, London, Istanbul, Paris and Bangkok.
The most popular day for departing for both short-haul and long-haul trips is a Friday with 21 percent of travelers choosing to travel on this day.
Reports of terror attacks across the globe has also impacted travel trends in the region with Turkey at -14 percent, Tunisia at -9 percent and Egypt at -15 percent. The global travel intent has gone down from last year, but other areas in the region are experiencing strong growth.
In July, the UK is bucking the global trends – it has a 10 percent increase in travel to Tunisia during July. The decline in travel intent to Egypt is only 3 percent and it is showing great interest in Israel (33 percent) and Morocco (44 percent).
Looking at July, Russia’s weak ruble seems to be leading to a decline in travel across the board. It is only showing an increase in travel in five out of the 20 destinations, though Tunisia is one of them, showing a 35 percent increase.