Travellers from the UAE are hoping to head abroad this winter to make up for a lack of summer holidays over the past two years. Furthermore, most would like to go away with their wider family to make up for time apart. This is according to research from Marriott Bonvoy, the travel loyalty programme. The figures show that over eight in ten (83%) people in the UAE are planning to head away on holiday over winter this year, with the vast majority (87%) saying they would like to travel to a different country. For many, a winter holiday will be breaking with tradition – just 24% of those planning to go away this winter say they usually go away at this time of year. Nearly one in five (19%) say this would be the first time they have ever gone on holiday over winter.
This new trend for winter holidays has very much been as a result of the pandemic – a third (32%) say they plan to go away because they couldn’t over summer, whilst a further 36% say they are wanting to ‘binge’ on holidays to make up for not being able to go away during the pandemic. Turkey (9%), Egypt (8%) and Maldives (7%) are the key destinations travellers from the UAE would like to head to this winter.
The research reveals another trend as a result of the pandemic – a large surge in people who would like to go away with their wider family. Nearly nine in ten (87%) of those planning to go on holiday this winter say they would like to go away with wider family members. This compares to just a quarter (25%) who say they regularly go on holiday with multiple generations of their family.
Siblings (40%), parents (41%), cousins (25%) and aunties and uncles (14%) are the family members people from the UAE are hoping to travel with in future. The vast majority of those planning to go away with family members this winter (96%) say this is specifically to make up for not being able to see as much of each other during the pandemic.
The research offers a word of warning for those planning to go away with wider family members for the first time. Amongst those who have previously been away with multiple generations of their family, 29% say it is ‘hard to keep everyone happy’. However, there are benefits as well. Four in ten (42%) say they benefited from time with their family in a different environment, whilst 22% of parents with children under 18 said it was great to get family help looking after the kids. Twenty-four per cent said having others contribute costs towards the holiday was a large benefit.
When travelling with a large group, families seek accommodation that offers space and privacy. The research found that amongst those from the UAE, people planning to go on holiday this winter with their wider family, villas or rental homes will be the most popular option (42%) followed by adjoining rooms, suites or family rooms in hotels (41%). Thirty-nine per cent will opt for resort complexes with on-site dining and entertainment.
Neal Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Marriott International – Europe, Middle East & Africa: “We have seen significant interest in holidays this winter, due to continued pent up demand from the pandemic. We know that travellers from the UAE have a desire to get away – especially over the holiday season, when families want to come together and make up for lost time and lost travels over the past two years. We always knew that there would be bumps in the road as we get back to a new normal for travel and we sincerely hope that families can reunite with loved ones this winter when they need it most.”
The research is taken from Marriott Bonvoy’s Joy of Travel report, conducted amongst 14,000 consumers in Europe and the Middle East. Marriott Bonvoy is encouraging travellers to remember the joy, re-connection and appreciation of the world that travel brings – whether they want to explore new destinations or return to old favourites as the world opens up again.