In time for the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) taking place this week in Dubai, ForwardKeys, the leading travel analytics firm, reveals a 36% increase in international arrivals into the MENA region between June – August this year versus the same period in 2022.
Several destinations are outperforming not just the arrival figures for 2022 but are also set to grow above their pre-pandemic levels: Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Qatar, with Morocco just reaching 2019 international arrival levels.
“The MENA region’s tourism industry is set to continue its strong recovery during the summer months thanks to a combination of a substantial increase in travel intent, with flight searches for international trips to MENA made in the first three months of the year up by 39% on the same period last year and the enhanced flight connectivity, with available seats for travelling to MENA destinations internationally up by 19% on 2019 levels (+5% vs 2019) ” says Olivier Ponti, Vice President of Insights at ForwardKeys.
In terms of which source markets are the most engaged and interested in the MENA region, the latest air ticket data from ForwardKeys shows that the Egyptian market is pivotal, up by 109% on 2019 levels from June – August. The UK (United Kingdom) is also up, 28% above 2019 levels, and Australia, an important long-haul market, is down just by 5% compared to the pre-pandemic but up by 119% compared to 2022.
Outbound MENA travellers prefer nature reserves this Summer.
Saudi Arabia is the most booked destination for travelling from the MENA region this summer, up by 79% versus the pre-pandemic. The Saudi government has heavily invested in developing its tourism infrastructure and offering – the data shows that all the investment is working, particularly with regional markets. A key milestone for arrivals to Saudi Arabia came early in January when the government announced that there will be no limit on the number of pilgrims who can attend the Hajj in 2023 for the first time since COVID-19. Religious events in the region continue to prove key for the travel industry.
In second place is exotic Thailand. The growth of bookings to Southeast Asian destinations is strong, with Thailand leading by 233% versus 2022 levels and +109% on 2019 levels.
“Now that travel restrictions have eased and air connectivity is returning closer to pre-pandemic levels in the APAC (ASIA PACIFIC) region, we are seeing a surge of travellers from the MENA flocking East this summer, in search of adventure, relaxation and a much-needed escape from the challenges of recent years”, adds Ponti.
Coming in third place is Austria (up by 25% on 2019 levels), a much cooler destination for those looking to escape the scorching temperatures in the Middle East.
ForwardKeys team members Katrina Dawson and Gamal Sadek are attending the 4-day ATM event in Dubai and are open to appointments to show how the ForwardKeys data can facilitate tourism growth and development.