Domestic travel picking up

Domestic market has become more important today, as people are compelled not to travel as most borders are yet to open. Rajitha Rajapakse, Head of Sales & Marketing at Explore the Wonders, shares with us some insights on the real deal behind the scene.

Shehara Rizly

Q What type of travel will be more popular; inbound or outbound?

Overall, people will prefer to engage more in domestic travel / staycations as there are many great deals and value for money offers. This is not only in the UAE as we have seen this pattern in many countries. This is the reason why EU opened its borders first for the EU nationals. Having said that, travellers without kids have opted for international travel too provided the procedures are not challenging. As a result, we have seen a good trend towards Maldives, which was one of the first destinations to open its doors to UAE nationals / residents.

Q What are the reasons for domestic tourism to be more popular?

I won’t say that staycations are popular right now but as people have no other choice, they are forced to take them, especially UAE nationals as everyone was indoors for more than five to six months, which is not normal at all for everyone. As a product, villas with private pools have become very popular as compared to traditional hotels over the last two months. There is immense demand for this type of accommodation.

Q Will international travel pick up by end of the year or next year?

International travel will certainly take more time to pick up. This is because many expatriates have lost their jobs. Usually each family in the UAE (expatriates) tend to take at least one holiday annually and many take more than one. This is how budget destinations such as Georgia and Armenia became popular over the last two to three years. Unfortunately, this trend will not regain its momentum until the middle and lower middle-class income group becomes stronger.

Q What will be the purpose of travel?

From what we see, travel will be purely for leisure. The frequency of travel will reduce. This is because people will tend to save more than usual due to the uncertainty of their jobs.

Q How will travellers requirements change?

While confidence will be the main aspect, the travellers will be more concerned about the correct procedures for PCR tests when travelling to a destination and while returning to the UAE. Many are confused on the returning procedures as some of the requirements keep changing on daily basis.

Q What will their take be on hotels and attractions? Will they still travel with their kids?

We haven’t received any international travel request for any families. However, clients were confident to take staycations with kids.

Q Will there be changes in luxury travel?

More and more people are opting for luxury travel / luxury hotels as they feel safer with the quality of these products and the procedures they follow as compared to budget hotels. Also, great deals are being offered for these high-end hotels, hence people are availing this opportunity.

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