UAE citizens eager to local and international travel in 2021: Research

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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US-based hospitality company, Hilton and British international market research company, YouGov jointly researched to know about the travel plans of UAE citizens for the coming year.

The new research has disclosed that the UAE residents who ended up putting their travel plans on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic are now looking ahead to making holiday plans to international as well as regional destinations in 2021.

According to the survey reports, around 50 percent of UAE citizens, including UAE nationals are planning to take three or more holidays in the coming year if the global travel restrictions are pulled off.

Almost 34 percent of respondents said they would travel to their homeland with regard to the top holiday destinations, followed by 26 percent of respondents who said they preferred mainland Europe.

Jochem-Jan Sleiffer
Jochem-Jan Sleiffer
Area President
Hilton – MEA & Turkey

“Whilst travel restrictions implemented in the wake of COVID-19 have impacted international trips this year, we have seen soaring demand for UAE staycations and shorter breaks closer to home. As people begin to feel comfortable to travel further afield again, and as restrictions lift, we foresee people resuming trips they had to postpone, reconnecting with family abroad or perhaps booking that once in a lifetime vacation they have been dreaming about this year.”

The survey also gives insight on how the pandemic has influenced the future holiday priorities of the people. It revealed that the majority of respondents had altered their leisure travel preferences, with 34 percent now searching for wellness-oriented experiences. Then 16 percent of people are interested in spending holidays in nature exploration and adventure opportunities, followed by 5 percent wants resort-type visits.

Several organizations have noted the increased willingness to travel among residents, as well as the increased focus on safety and security. To that end, Emirates Airlines recently announced an expanded multi-risk travel cover on top of its current COVID-19 cover.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Emirates airline and Chief Executive of the Emirates Group said, “We see a strong appetite for travel around the world, especially heading into the winter holidays as people seek warmer climates and family destinations like Dubai. By launching this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, we aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021.”

“Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID-19 cover for travelers back in July, and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging. We’ve not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We’re very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, which is another industry first, to all our customers,” further added Sheikh Ahmed.

Reason for travel plans

The study founded that the ‘missed holidays due to the pandemic’ and a desire to ‘revisit treasured destinations with their families’ are the key reasons for wanting to travel. More than 90 percent of respondents commented that this year they had canceled at least one overseas holiday. Nearly half of them canceled holiday trips to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The results of the study also showed that 80 percent of residents said that the ‘chance to create new memories’ was the most important part of travel and that some of their best memories were made of going away on vacation.