Dubai: Riyadh-based travel agency Almosafer has seen its bookings recover to 76 per cent of 2019 levels after the resumption of international travel from Saudi Arabia last month.
The company expects bookings to exceed pre-pandemic bookings volumes by the fourth quarter as more travel restrictions are lifted and more destinations reopened across the world.
“Based on the initial results we’ve seen through Almosafer’s booking and searches during the last month, we feel very optimistic about the future of the travel sector in KSA,” said Muzzammil Ahussain, EVP at Almosafer.
“Due to the various travel restrictions in place worldwide, it was interesting to see the changes in the top 20 destinations mix which saw a few new emerging destinations that weren’t on Saudi nationals’ travel lists before such as Greece, Bosnia and Albania,” said Ahussain.
Travelers all set
Almosafer’s survey examining consumers’ searches and bookings found that over 80 per cent of Saudi respondents are planning to travel internationally within the first six months of border opening.
The data also shows that domestic travel is in high demand due to the growing appeal of local destinations among Saudi nationals. Top destinations include Jeddah, Riyadh, Al Khobar and Dammam, while new trending destinations that gained popularity over the past year are Al Jubail, Abha and Jizan.
Destinations of interest beyond KSA within the MENA region include UAE, Qatar, Bahrain and Egypt topping the list due to their proximity and familiarity. However, with Saudi International travelers prioritising quarantine free destinations, a few new trending destinations have entered the top 20 list including Ukraine.
Morocco has also emerged as a trending destination offering beautiful natural landscapes and beaches, rural and cultural heritage. Additionally, the Maldives are a top favourite amongst couples and families looking for a memorable beach escape full of relaxation.
The survey also revealed that Saudi nationals are opting for shorter trips abroad and spending more per booking to achieve higher levels of comfort, convenience, and better social distancing options. With the ever-changing status of travel restrictions at various destinations, travelers' booking window has reduced by 30 per cent.