South East Asia is the summer hotspot for UAE travelers, according to a new trends report released today by Dubai-based online flight and hotel booking platform.
With its wealth of culture and vibrant street life, Bangkok leads the way with flight bookings up 164% versus 2018, closely followed by the cosmopolitan island paradise of Bali, up 150% over the same period. Outbound bookings to dynamic Kuala Lumpur with its gleaming skyscrapers and food stall-lined streets have also rocketed by 130% versus 2018.
The popularity of South East Asia supports this year’s wider trend of UAE residents choosing overseas destinations over local staycations for their holidays. International hotel bookings have increased to 74% this year from 45% in 2018 whilst domestic stays declined to 26% versus 55% last year. Mid-range boutique and upscale four-star hotels have also increased in popularity versus their luxury counterparts as travelers seek authentic experiences in cities across the globe.
Closer to home, Istanbul with its rich history and lively entertainment holds its position as one of the leading destinations for UAE travelers and South Caucasus tourism continues to grow with culture seekers and outdoor adventurers heading to Baku in Azerbaijan.
The trend of multiple short breaks is declining, with UAE residents taking longer holidays overseas. The average length of stay based on flight booking data has increased by 70% to 17 days, as travelers look further afield to explore diverse cultures and climates. Many are also capitalizing on the longer public holidays in 2019 to make the most of their vacation time.
The average group size is also increasing in 2019, up 15% versus 2018 as more families and friends escape to cooler climes.
The mobile web now also surprisingly leads the way over the mobile app for travelers booking their trips, with more bookings over lunchtime at work than on the go. With the experience of app versus mobile web becoming increasingly consistent, consumers can choose their simplest, fastest and most convenient way to book.