Summer brings the scope of travelling to new outbound destinations for the Middle Eastern travellers. We speak to some tourism boards and agents to know more.
Pichaya Saisaengchan, Director of Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT), Dubai and Middle East office
We welcomed over 38.2 million visitors last year, bringing in 63 billion USD, of these, 550,000 visitors were from the Middle East, generating an income of more than 1.4 billion USD. Currently, our top three markets in the Middle East are the UAE, Oman and Kuwait. Medical tourism has created a surge in families visiting Thailand.
Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information, Turkey to the UAE
We expect tourist spending in Turkey to continue undeterred through to the end of this year as the number of visitors bound for Turkish cities is rising. A significant spike has been reported in the number of international tourists from neighbouring Arab countries, travelling into Turkey to shop, especially for high-end designer and luxury brands.
Nasir Jamal Khan, CEO, Al Naboodha Travel
Some of the new outbound destinations favoured by locals are Ireland, South Korea and Japan. They would prefer mostly to discover a new culture in the respective countries, while exploring nature, family relaxation and shopping. The Middle Eastern travellers spend an average 7 to 10 days at one destination.
Jamal Abdulnasser, CEO, Cozmo Travel
Locals and expats prefer destinations like Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia. The locals prefer short-haul destinations for about a week, but in summer, for longhaul destinations, the stay is for approximately one to two months. The duration of stay for expats is not more than a week.
Pramod Thomas, Manager – Holidays, SNTTA
Baku, UK, Turkey and Poland are some popular destination for the Middle Eastern traveller. The tourists look for safety and Halal food, along with the option of activities for children in preferred places of their stay. For locals, the minimum stay is one week, which involves shopping and sightseeing, but, during summers it exceeds to two or three weeks. Expats prefer visa-free destinations like Armenia, Georgia, Baku and look out for value for money in their choices.
– Inputs by Shehara Rizly