The Marriott Bonvoy report shows only four in 10 people from the UAE have been abroad since the pandemic’s start. However, with the gradual lifting of restrictions globally and the summer months approaching, travellers from the Emirates are more likely to explore international destinations.
The Marriott Bonvoy data shows that among the 85 per cent of UAE residents who already know they will be heading abroad this summer (June-September), 98 per cent say they will be spending more than they usually would, on an average of AED 11,832 per person. This is compared to their typical spending on summer holidays pre-COVID-19. The upward trend points to increasing travel opportunities and the fact that most people are now comfortable travelling after the pandemic.
Furthermore, this is predicted to be an ongoing trend due to the upcoming Eid holidays, school holidays, and most people seeking to get away for the summer. Hence, tourism has increased over the past few months, and the industry is noticing many new trends.
The World Health Organization defines wellness as “complete physical, mental, and social well-being” rather than “the absence of disease or infirmity”. Tourists are now seeking destinations and experiences that help maintain a healthy mental and physical lifestyle. Wellness can be immersed in cultural activities, reconnecting with family and friends, activities which allow the individual to disengage from mobile devices, and even seek out healthy gastronomic experiences. Destinations known for their wellness experiences include Bali, Tuscany, and India. Dubai also promotes wellness, with hotels such as Jumeirah offering wellness retreats.
Most holiday seekers opt for longer holidays due to the long period of no travel. By accumulating vacation days over time, people have pending vacation leaves that they look forward to taking this year and next. The Marriott Bonvoy report states that 43 per cent of the respondents have not been on a holiday of two weeks or longer in three years or more.
Family vacations are increasingly becoming a priority. Adding to this, schools will soon begin their summer holidays, and families with children use the summer months to unwind. Along with destination holidays, most expats are also looking to visit their hometowns.
The sprawling hotel properties in the UAE and the quick city getaway hotels also prompt holiday seekers to opt for staycations and make last-minute in-country holiday plans. This has also been due to the long visa processes at most embassies.