The Covid pandemic has changed the way of life. However, thankfully, things are slowly resuming to normal and so is the travel industry. A survey conducted by Aviareps reveals that Gulf-based travel agents envisage a full return to international travel by August and September. This comes in line with another survey that revealed that 86% Of GCC Residents Are Still Open To Traveling Post Covid.
The research conducted monthly included answers from 94 outbound travel agencies. Majority of the agents expect to begin promotions from July. Most of the promotions will be complete travel packages that include air, accommodation and tour components. Middle East packages are expected to be most popular, followed by packages for travel to South East Asia, Indian Ocean destinations and Europe.
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Other destinations including Indonesia, Mauritius, Egypt, Thailand, Bosnia Herzegovina, USA, United Kingdom, France, Armenia and the Czech Republic were also part of the list.
Findings From The Survey
The survey was first conducted in early May 2020, and is being conducted on a monthly basis as outbound travel agencies and destinations prepare to return to business. The survey was conducted across 24 agencies from Saudi Arabia, 21 from the UAE, 21 from Bahrain, 11 from Qatar, 10 from Kuwait and 7 from Oman.
60% of respondents expect a return to outbound travel from August and September 2020. However, 14% don’t see a return until 2021. 97% said that full serviced offerings that include flights, accommodation, land arrangements (including car hire) and tours, will be part of their promotional line up. 75% will provide offerings that combine flights and accommodation, and only 27% will promote accommodation only deals.
International Travel To Increase In Summer
International travel is expected to increase in the summer, provided flights become available and destinations open up their borders to visitors. Travellers expressed an interest to venture outside, in order to escape Middle East’s summer.
In addition, GCC is strategically located, allowing travellers to book international travel with relatively short led-booking times. This also acts as a catalyst in increasing the demand for international travel. Travel to visit family and friends overseas is also expected to be another incentive for many to venture overseas as soon as they can.
The survey also revealed that the level of pre-booked cancellations was relatively low for the remaining months of the year, suggesting that many in the G.C.C. who had pre-booked international travel prior to May were taking a ‘wait and see’ approach prior to cancelling.
Earlier, a survey done by Dubai-based travel and tourism communications agency, AllDetails, revealed that 86% of respondents plan to travel internationally post-pandemic.
The survey was conducted among residents and citizens of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, to understand their sentiment towards travel during the Covid19 pandemic. 83% said that they enjoy thinking about travel during this period while 56% of the respondents admitted that they were negatively affected by Covid-19 news.
In addition, the respondents also expect to have some health security guarantees in place to travel again. Most of them revealed they will then travel as soon as 2 to 4 weeks after the travel restrictions have been lifted; for both leisure and business purposes. The survey revealed that 72% of GCC travellers will travel for leisure, with a change in scenery being their first priority and 80% will travel for a duration of one week or more.
The survey also revealed that young travellers between 21 – 34 years of age are more cautious and would wait longer than the older age group of 35 – 64 years, to travel again. However, respondents across all age groups enjoy thinking and reading about travel during the pandemic.