Published On: Wed, Jul 15th, 2015

Middle East tourists: More trips, please, but make them short

touristssssDUBAI, UAE – Middle East travelers are making more last-minute, quick-break, travel decisions during Ramadan and Eid.

“This year, last minute travel searches jumped significantly for the period leading up to Ramadan,” commented Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director of Wego MENA and India, which provided the information about the Middle East and Asia Pacific travel.

“Ramadan began at an earlier time, coinciding closely with school holidays and the summer vacation period. It’s possible that some travelers were caught off guard, accustomed to more travel planning time,” Hmedan said.

“The earlier timing hasn’t negatively affected the number of travel searches; conversely Wego has recorded an increase in searches overall by 224 percent (hotels up 257 percent, flights up 220 percent) over the same period last year.”

“What’s really interesting to note is the increase in more frequent, shorter stays,” Hmedan continued. “Travelers are taking full advantage of the availability of Wego’s regional low cost carrier partners and online travel agent options, which is fueling a lot more opportunities to travel. This year we’ve seen FlyDubai and FlyNas topping the most frequently searched airline list, alongside full service regional carriers.”

Along with higher domestic searches for weekends in Dubai, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi from the UAE, Hmedan added that an ease on visa requirements for GCC nationals in some European and Southeast Asian countries, also contributed to the rise in travel searches internationally.

The majority of Wego’s large increases in flights and hotel searches were generated through the ‘Wego Flights & Hotels’ travel app for iOS and Android.

“More than 75 percent of bookings on Wego in MENA begin from a mobile device. Wego’s travel apps for iOS and Android are extremely popular in MENA, regularly ranking number one in Saudi Arabia for both platforms over the last 12 months, and amongst the top five preferred travel apps across the region,” said Hmedan.

“We are constantly improving the smartphone user experience adding new features tailored to making searching and booking travel as personal and convenient as possible, while fully localized for the MENA market.”