The majority of Saudi nationals enjoy vacation in their own back yard. Many plan to travel both domestically and internationally this year.
These results will be published in the omni-channel travel brand’s second travel mood survey Almosafer. The study carried out online between January and February in Saudi Arabia with over 3,000 respondents (72% Saudi nationals) examined their travel behavior one year after the start of the pandemic.
The survey found that more than half of respondents (65%) had traveled domestically in the past year. 80% are planning this in the current year, 11% of them exclusively. Almosafer said this has cemented its ongoing efforts to grow and diversify domestic product supply in line with the kingdom’s agenda to improve the tourism sector’s contribution to the economy.
Respondents said they plan to take more leisure trips to their home country this year, even if the borders are reopened. Popular destinations for Saudi travelers are Jeddah, Riyadh, Mecca, Al Khobar and Taif.
Jeddah is a popular domestic destination (Image credit – Jeddah Waterfront Park: Ejocusol / Getty Images)
Fahad Alobailan, vice president of retail at Almosafer, said the survey provides “exciting insights” into the needs of Saudi travelers and shapes the company’s efforts to support domestic tourism development.
In parallel with the results, Almosafer has launched packages and a 360-degree advertising campaign to encourage domestic booking and encourage travelers to explore new destinations, as well as a variety of bookable tours and attractions across the kingdom.
Muzzammil Ahussain, executive vice president at Almosafer, said the site’s searches and bookings showed a sharp surge in domestic travel demand. “Even after the borders are reopened, the growth and development of our domestic offerings will remain a key concern for us in 2021, particularly in our domestic activities market, which offers a variety of bookable tours and attractions from across the UK.”
Planning for international travel
In international travel, over 80% of those surveyed plan to travel to foreign destinations within six months of the opening of the borders, and many are interested in a longer stay.
International destinations of choice are primarily in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, with Dubai and Cairo topping the list. Qatar is particularly interested in the recent restoration of diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and the neighboring GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) district. The top 10 travel destinations include the Maldives, which are popular with couples and families (top 3 for both), and Sarajevo, the capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Leisure travel is the main reason for domestic and international travelers. Over 57% of Saudis will choose to take longer vacations abroad (more than seven days) when the borders are reopened.
For travel companions, 32% said they vacationed with friends, while 26% opted for a family vacation. However, 22% preferred to travel alone.
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On the subject, Ahussain said: “This is evident from our results as over 20% of Saudi respondents said they would prefer to use a travel advisor to make travel arrangements. Almost 10% of respondents named WhatsApp as their preferred booking channel, proving that it is one of the most important emerging core communication channels among Saudis and a key channel for Almosafer. ”
• • Infographic of the below survey on travel mood:
• Image Source Selected (Edge of the World, Natural Landmark, Popular Tourist Destination Near Riyadh): AFZALKHAN M / Getty Images