Travellers in the UAE are favouring the same holiday destinations year after year for home comforts and familiarity, with the pandemic leading most to being less adventurous than usual according to new research from Marriott Bonvoy, the travel loyalty programme that encompasses hotels, resorts, home rentals and experiences across 30 brands in 138 countries.
UAE travellers seek the familiar post-lockdown
The figures show that just a quarter (27%) of those going abroad plan to visit somewhere new for their post-lockdown holiday. The Maldives and Turkey are jointly the number one destinations for those from the UAE for their next getaway. Nineteen per cent of those planning a holiday abroad intend to visit The Maldives, and the figure is the same for Turkey. However, seven in ten of those going to Turkey (73%) say they have gone on holiday there previously and 48% have been multiple times. Meanwhile, 68% of those going to the Maldives have been there before. Egypt is the third most popular destination for post-pandemic breaks amongst those from the UAE travelling abroad (17%), followed by the UK (13%) and Italy (13%). In total, 88% say they will be going on holiday in the next 12 months. Seven per cent plan not to, whilst 6% remain unsure.
It appears that lockdown has had an impact on where those from the UAE are choosing to go for their post-lockdown holidays. Over half (51%) say the pandemic has led to them being less confident in visiting new places. Amongst those who do not plan to go away 52% say that this is specifically due to a lack of confidence in travel post-Covid.
The aim of the research is to look into how open travellers from the UAE are to trying new holiday destinations in the next year, and will take the opportunity to explore and discover somewhere new as travel becomes easier once again.
Many have always favoured repeat trips and home comforts
Whilst the pandemic has had a key impact on people’s travel plans, according to the figures many in the UAE habitually favour returning to the same destinations year after year rather than trying new places. Thirty-one per cent say they have been back on holiday to the same country five times or more, whilst 14% have visited the same country ten times or more.
Why do so many people keep returning to the same place on holiday when presented with a world of options? The research found that for many, home comforts are key, with over a quarter (27%) saying it is important that they can get familiar food. Sixteen per cent like to go somewhere where they will be able to meet other people from their home country and 15% say that it’s important that they can find sports from the UAE on television.
A quarter (25%) like the comfort of knowing exactly what to expect whilst 15% admit they are simply ‘not very adventurous’. This is despite nine in ten (92%) acknowledging that they feel they lose some of the benefit of a holiday by returning to previously visited destinations.
Neal Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Marriott International – Europe, Middle East & Africa: “We know there is pent-up demand for travel and this research demonstrates the impact the pandemic is continuing to have on global travel trends. The figures suggest that post-pandemic, holiday makers in the UAE are seeking out tried and trusted destinations where they know exactly what to expect – to be able to make the most out of a long-awaited holiday abroad and to avoid any surprises after 18 months of turmoil and uncertainty.
“Whilst we love welcoming back repeat guests into our hotels and resorts, travel also offers us all the opportunity to expand our horizons and immerse ourselves in new cultures and experiences. Visiting new countries while staying in hotels and resorts that are part of a trusted portfolio of brands gives travellers the opportunity to try something new, but with the confidence and reassurance of staying with an established travel programme like Marriott Bonvoy.”
The research is taken from Marriott Bonvoy’s Joy of Travel report, conducted amongst 14,000 consumers in the Middle East and Europe.