Eco-Friendly Luxury Travel on the Rise in the Middle East

KEY TAKEAWAYS
Middle Eastern luxury travel is increasingly focusing on sustainability, with affluent travelers showing a growing preference for sustainable luxury hotel stays.
Authenticity is becoming more popular, with high-income travelers seeking genuine and impactful experiences and willing to pay more for private, secluded accommodations.
Qatar has revamped its visa process through the Hayya platform to simplify tourist and business visa applications and ease tourist access to the country.
The Middle East and North Africa region saw a surge in air ticket searches during Ramadan, with top destinations including Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Qatar, and Jordan.
Hilton plans to expand its Saudi Arabian portfolio to over 75 hotels across multiple brands in the upcoming years, indicating continued growth in the region's luxury travel sector.

 

Middle Eastern luxury travel, particularly in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is witnessing an increasing focus on sustainability.

YouGov’s Global Travel and Tourism Whitepaper 2023 reveals that 61% of UAE residents are ready to pay extra for environmentally friendly, sustainable tourism experiences.

Over the past three years, luxury green accommodations have seen a 10% increase in consumer preference, with sustainable luxury hotel stays among affluent travelers growing by 50%.

Valuing Authenticity in Travel

In addition to the rising emphasis on sustainable travel, the quest for authentic experiences is also becoming more popular.

Post-pandemic, 51% of high-income travelers are searching for genuine and impactful experiences, with 27% ready to pay more for private, secluded accommodations.

The Middle East has successfully built an international reputation for luxury tourism, with regional consumers appreciating unique, unforgettable, and eco-conscious experiences.

Qatar Streamlines Visa Process through Hayya Platform

Qatar Tourism has revamped the Hayya platform to simplify the country’s tourist visa process. The platform now serves as a unified portal for all tourist and business visas to Qatar, consolidating applications for tourists, Gulf residents, and their companions.

The Hayya platform played a pivotal role in granting entry to over a million visitors during the FIFA World Cup last year and aims to ease tourist access to Qatar.

Ramadan Sparks Increase in Flight Searches

Wingie, a flight search platform, experienced a 300% surge in air ticket searches in the Middle East and North Africa region since Ramadan’s beginning.

In the days leading to Eid-al-Fitr, 75% of travelers booked international flights, with solo travelers making 82% of the bookings.

Top destinations included Turkey, India, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Qatar, and Jordan.

Saudi Arabian Airlines and Flyadeal Broaden Their Reach

Saudia and flyadeal, Saudi Arabia’s airlines, intend to add 25 new destinations to the Saudia Group Network in 2023.

These locations cover various countries, such as China, the UK, Turkey, France, Africa, Greece, and parts of Europe.

This expansion responds to the growing demand for international travel.

Qatar Tourism has revamped the Hayya platform to simplify the country’s tourist visa process. The platform now serves as a unified portal for all tourist and business visas to Qatar, consolidating applications for tourists, Gulf residents, and their companions.

Corporate Travel Set to Surpass Pre-Pandemic Levels

The Cvent Travel Manager Report states that most travel managers across Asia, Australia, and the Middle East and Africa anticipate corporate travel volumes in 2023 to exceed pre-pandemic levels.

The report highlights the significance of sustainability in venue selection and encourages hotels to display their distinct facilities, unique selling points, and sustainability initiatives to attract corporate travel buyers.

Top Destinations for UAE Travelers During Eid

Wego, an online travel marketplace, identified India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand as favored destinations for UAE travelers during Eid vacations.

India took the top spot, followed by Egypt, with UAE residents also exploring their own country, which ranked third.

Hilton’s Growth in Saudi Arabia

Hilton declared the signing of a management agreement for a new hotel in Jeddah, owned by Alahli Reit Fund and managed by SNB Capital.

The hotel company plans to expand its Saudi Arabian portfolio to over 75 hotels across multiple brands in the upcoming years.

In Summary

The Middle East’s luxury travel sector is undergoing a significant transformation towards sustainable and authentic experiences.

With the growing importance of sustainability in travel, this trend is likely to continue in the region, presenting new possibilities for tourism providers to cater to environmentally aware, luxury-seeking travelers.

Craig Miller

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