Most UAE residents say travel costs have increased, but very few are canceling their holiday plans.


About 77 percent of travelers in the United Arab Emirates have noticed an increase in travel expenses, according to a survey.

However, only 3 percent would consider postponing or canceling their trips based on Visa Global Travel Intentions Study for 2023. The survey found a “significant increase in travel activity with no signs of slowing,” even amid rising costs.

Mohamed Bardastani, Chief Economist CEMEA at Visa He said travel expenses, from airfare to accommodation, have increased significantly post-COVID and have remained “somewhat elevated for a sustained period without a significant pullback.”

“There were several reasons behind this price increase: global inflationary pressures, rising geopolitical tensions, tightening energy markets, etc. But none of this has reduced the insatiable demand for travel from consumers, who increasingly prioritize and value their ‘me time’. especially your travel experiences. “Our research shows that while 77 per cent of consumers were aware of rising travel costs, 45 per cent said this was unlikely to change their travel plans.”

A senior executive at online travel agency Musafir, based in the United Arab Emirates, said all aspects of travel costs have increased. Raheesh Babu, COO of travel management companyexplained:

“While travel expenses have undoubtedly increased compared to pre-pandemic levels, it is notable to witness the simultaneous increase in travel demand. Flight prices have increased by 20 to 30 percent, probably “due to increased demand and capacity constraints. Similarly, hotel rates have increased by 20 to 30 percent, partly driven by the resurgence of business travel after the pandemic.”

According to the visa survey, travelers took an average of two international trips over about 10 days in the last 12 months. India, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were the main destinations. Travelers prioritize travel to relax (58 percent), followed by the need to reunite with family and friends (42 percent), explore something new (33 percent), and seek adventure (33 percent).

Babu said his online travel agency has seen a “shift in trip frequency from once a year to two or three trips a year.”

He Study of global travel intentions revealed that the majority of travelers (61 percent) prefer independent trips to package tours

“as it provides greater flexibility and control over your travel arrangements in the event of last-minute changes.”

The study also showed that four in 10 travelers are willing to pay a higher price to enjoy the flexibility to adapt to changes in their travel plans.

babu agreed:

“Travelers are increasingly opting for premium experiences, with bookings at 4- and 5-star hotels and travel in first or business class increasing by 10 to 12 percent. “This suggests a willingness to invest in quality experiences despite cost increases.”

Payment concerns

He visa survey found that the majority of travelers (85 percent) had payment concerns before their trip. Among the top fears were those related to card acceptance (29 percent), the cost of currency conversion at the destination (26 percent) and ATM withdrawal costs (24 percent).

The study is based on a survey conducted among 1,101 UAE residents between the age groups of 18 to 55 years. Respondents had traveled abroad for pleasure last year and intend to travel more this year.

About 70 percent of respondents said digital wallets have become an “integral aspect” of spending. Nearly 85 percent of travelers use the same card they use for domestic spending in the UAE.

Families traveling with older children spend the most (66 percent) on destinations across all demographics. While traveling, top spending categories include fashion-related transactions, restaurants or cafes, and accommodations.

Travel expense compensation

According to data shared by the digital travel platform Booking, most UAE travelers plan to reduce their holiday bills by taking a holiday outside of the peak season. More than half (56 percent) of respondents in the UAE plan to take their children out of school in 2024 to make their travel budget go further.

Around 70 percent of the country’s tourists will seek to reduce the cost of their vacation by choosing destinations where daily life is cheaper than in their city of origin. These travelers will also choose to avoid the expenses associated with long-haul flights.

News Source: Khaleej Times


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