UAE travellers explore South East Asia this year Filed on June 26, 2019
UAE travellers explore South East Asia this year

The popularity of South East Asia supports this year's wider trend of UAE residents choosing overseas destinations over local staycations for their holidays. - Supplied photos

Megha Bhalla, chief business officer, Holidayme.
(Supplied photo)

Muzzammil Ahussain, EVP of Tajawal.
(Supplied photo)

South East Asia is the summer hotspot for UAE travellers according to a new trends report released today by Dubai-based online flight and hotel booking platform, tajawal.

With its wealth of culture and vibrant street life, Bangkok leads the way with flight bookings up 164 per cent versus 2018, closely followed by the cosmopolitan island paradise of Bali, up 150 per cent over the same period. Outbound bookings to dynamic Kuala Lumpur with its gleaming skyscrapers and food stall-lined streets have also rocketed by 130 per cent versus 2018.

Megha Bhalla, chief business officer, Holidayme, said: "The increase in travellers flocking to SEA has been a welcoming change for the region with direct low cost carrier flights operating , the value for money prices , hospitality offered at its very best in the world and ease of visa rules. South East Asia a myriad of experiences to travellers be it affordable grand destination weddings to the adventure seeker who may also try a tranquil relaxation treatment during his stay."

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 on tajawal have increased to 74 per cent this year from 45 per cent in 2018 whilst domestic stays declined to 26 per cent versus 55 per cent last year. Mid-range boutique and upscale four-star hotels have also increased in popularity versus their luxury counterparts as travellers 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 travellers and South Caucasus tourism continues to grow with culture seekers and outdoor adventurers heading to Baku in Azerbaijan.

Tajawal is also seeing the trend of multiple short breaks declining, with UAE residents taking longer holidays overseas. The average length of stay based on flight booking data has increased by 70 per cent to 17 days as travellers look further afield to explore diverse cultures and climates. Many are also capitalising on the longer public holidays in 2019 to make the most of their vacation time.

Muzzammil Ahussain, EVP of tajawal said: "It's interesting to see more UAE residents and citizens heading overseas this year and particularly to South East Asia which is a relatively short flight away and incredibly rich in culture, cuisine and diverse landscapes. City breaks remain the most popular choice for holidays from the UAE, with places like Singapore topping the list alongside Bangkok and Istanbul. Here in the UAE, we have a real appetite to see the world, demonstrated by an increase in spent of 30 per cent and 50 per cent on flights and hotels respectively across our booking platform. The average group size is also increasing in 2019, up 15 per cent versus 2018 as more families and friends escape to cooler climes. The mobile web now leads the way over the mobile app for travellers booking with tajawal, 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." -


Sandhya D'Mello

Journalist. Period. My interests are Economics, Finance and Information Technology. Prior to joining Khaleej Times, I have worked with some leading publications in India, including the Economic Times.

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