The Dubai Chamber expects to see faster growth for intermediate travel bookings firms over the next five years as travellers increasingly turn to online platforms. Picture used for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The value of UAE online travel sales in 2018 is expected to reach Dh17.3 billion, driven by a shift towards digital services among residents, according to research from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The analysis, which is based on data from Euromonitor International, found that direct online sales in the year are expected to hit Dh9 billion, supported by higher airline sales. Another Dh8.3 billion is expected from online sales from intermediary companies.

The Dubai Chamber said it expects to see faster growth for intermediate travel bookings companies over the next five years as travellers increasingly turn to online platforms to research and book both travel and accommodation.

In 2018, online mobile travel sales in the UAE are forecast to reach Dh2.9 billion, marking a 25 per cent growth rate over 2017, the research suggests. The market for mobile travel sales is expected to grow at 16.4 per cent over the next five years, spurred by mobile apps, many of which target the Arabic-speaking population.