Travellers keen to spend more

Marriott Bonvoy’s 2023 Travel Trends research finds that 66 per cent of Saudi travellers plan to take more travel this year than they did in 2023

Travellers in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are planning to spend more on holidays in 2023, with most in both markets (93 per cent) planning to go away, and more than two thirds in each market (66 per cent in Saudi Arabia and 69 per cent in the UAE) planning more breaks than in 2022.

Luxury will be a key theme, with around a quarter planning on staying in luxury accommodation whilst away.

The increase in trips and spending is, in part, thanks to more confidence that 2023 holiday plans won’t be impacted by Covid, and the fact that travel remains a priority for Middle Eastern consumers. Sustainability also plays an important role in 2023 travel plans, whilst ‘having a break from it all’ is key for holidaymakers.

These are the findings of Marriott Bonvoy’s 2023 Travel Trends research, which analysed the 2023 travel plans of 14,000 travellers across Europe and the Middle East.

Wellbeing-led holidays that allow people to get away from it all will be the predominant type of break those in the Middle East go on. More than six in ten from the UAE (61 per cent) plan to, whilst the figure is even higher for Saudi Arabia (73 per cent).

Authentic travel is also key, with many wanting to immerse themselves in a complete change of culture, with over half in both markets (55 per cent in the UAE and 56 per cent in Saudi Arabia) wanting to explore new destinations and cultures. To truly soak up local culture, 30 per cent of those from the UAE and 27 per cent of those from Saudi Arabia plan on taking an ‘extended holiday’ of three weeks or more in one destination.

Of those going on an extended holiday, 39 per cent from Saudi Arabia and 37 per cent from the UAE say that it is the first time they will be doing so.

Forty-eight percent of those from the UAE and 44 per cent from Saudi Arabia going on extended holidays highlighted that being able to work remotely allows them to take a longer holiday without having to take annual leave for the whole break.

In fact, hybrid and remote working has had a significant impact on travel plans in 2023. Nearly a third of those from the UAE (31 per cent) and 23 per cent from Saudi Arabia plan to take a ‘work-away holiday’.