GN Focus | Online Shopping

The new wave of travel shopping

With growing confidence in e-commerce sites and the safety of web-based transactions, a critical mass of travellers are now searching for options online, according to a new survey

  • Special Report
  • Published: 00:00 July 31, 2012

  • Image Credit: Corbis
  • Young Saudis gather at Bridges Bookstore in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Flight searches to Saudi Arabia by travellers in the UAE on online travel portal Wego have risen by 76 per cent, with Jeddah topping the list

Travellers in the UAE are increasingly booking flights and hotel nights online, according to a pilot study of 50,000 users of online travel portal Wego. Similar to the early adoption of travel sites in Asia, Wego is seeing travellers in the UAE taking control of their own itineraries, realising the savings made possible.

Searches by local users for flights from Abu Dhabi have increased 120 per cent year-on-year and from Dubai by 106 per cent. Flight searches to Qatar have doubled and to Saudi Arabia risen by 76 per cent, with Jeddah topping the list.

Residents are also looking at more accommodation options, with hotel searches up 121 per cent year-on-year. One in every eight searches for accommodation in Dubai and Abu Dhabi are made by people who live there. Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Al Ain are also being checked online more regularly and thoroughly.