Dubai: Travellers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are planning to take more breaks in 2023 and also spend more on their holidays compared to last year, according to a report.
A majority of travellers will be planning away trips, with around a quarter planning to stay in luxury accommodation, the report added.
These are the findings of Marriott Bonvoy’s 2023 Travel Trends research, which analysed the 2023 travel plans of 14,000 travellers across Europe and the Middle East.
According to the research, 93 per cent travellers in UAE and Saudi Arabia will go away for a vacation, with more than two thirds in each market (66 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 69 per cent in the UAE) planning more breaks than in 2022.
The increase in trips and spending is, in part, thanks to more confidence that 2023 holiday plans won’t be impacted by Covid, and the fact that travel remains a priority for Middle Eastern consumers. Sustainability also plays an important role in 2023 travel plans, whilst ‘having a break from it all’ is key for holidaymakers.
Wellbeing-led holidays that allow people to get away from it all will be the predominant type of break those in the Middle East go on. More than six in 10 from the UAE (61 per cent) plan to, whilst the figure is even higher for Saudi Arabia (73 per cent).
Authentic travel is also key, with many wanting to immerse themselves in a complete change of culture, with over half in both markets (55 per cent in the UAE and 56 per cent in Saudi Arabia) wanting to explore new destinations and cultures. To truly soak up local culture, 30 per cent of those from the UAE and 27 per cent of those from Saudi Arabia plan on taking a holiday of three weeks or more in one destination.
Of those going on an extended holiday, 39 per cent from Saudi Arabia and 37 per cent from the UAE say that it is the first time they will be doing so.
Forty-eight percent of those from the UAE and 44 per cent from Saudi Arabia going on extended holidays highlighted that being able to work remotely allows them to take a longer holiday without having to take annual leave for the whole break.
In fact, hybrid and remote working has had a significant impact on travel plans in 2023. Nearly a third of those from the UAE (31 per cent) and 23 per cent from Saudi Arabia plan to take a ‘work-away holiday’ – where they will continue to log on and work whilst travelling, thus allowing them to experience a new place without taking annual leave.
In 2023, the majority of travellers plan to spend more on their holidays compared to the previous year – 74 per cent in the UAE and 69 per cent in Saudi Arabia say that they will.
Around a quarter in each market (26 per cent in the UAE and 25 per cent in Saudi Arabia) plan to splash out and stay in luxury accommodation, whilst all-inclusive resorts will also be popular (17 per cent in the UAE and 12 per cent in Saudi Arabia). As a result, consumers from the UAE and Saudi Arabia have high expectations with regards to their holiday accommodation with cost, cleanliness and location the three most important factors.
Neal Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Marriott International - Europe, Middle East & Africa: “Travel trends for 2023 are more interesting than ever due to the unique situation we are in, as we look ahead to the way consumers plan to travel this year. What comes across very clearly is a resurgence in the sector based in large part on increased confidence amongst travellers, with most planning to spend more than last year and the demand for luxury with travellers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia remaining strong. This clearly shows great optimism, but also that people will be ring-fencing holiday spending.