UAE residents spend US$ 4.9 billion on travel

UAE residents took 2.86 million trips outside of the country in 2004, and spent more than US $4.9 billion on outbound travel, according to a recent survey undertaken by Dubai-based research and consulting firm, Market Vision.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  July 28, 2005

UAE residents took 2.86 million trips outside of the country in 2004, and spent more than US $4.9 billion on outbound travel, according to a recent survey undertaken by Dubai-based research and consulting firm, Market Vision. The study shows that 69% of the trips were for leisure and VFR (visiting friends & relatives) purposes, 26% for business and 5% for medical, religious and other purposes. Altogether, UAE travellers spent 51.1 million nights on international trips in 2004, of which 87% were spent on leisure and VFR trips. Most important to the region’s upscale hotel market was the survey results that showed half of UAE outbound travellers prefer to stay in four- and five-star hotels when they travel. Furthermore, on an average they spend 24 nights abroad per trip with an average expenditure per trip of over US $1,700, US $500 higher than the European average of about US$1,200. “64% of UAE travellers travel abroad at least once a year, majority of them travelling on leisure & VFR (visiting friends & family) trips. Over two-thirds of holiday makers travel with family, and one-half prefer to stay in four- and five-star hotels or furnished apartments. These characteristics of the UAE outbound travel market are increasingly being recognised by intra-regional and inter-regional tourism destinations that have begun to focus on the UAE as a lucrative source market for tourism revenues,” said Gautam Sen Gupta, managing director of Market Vision. “The consistent growth in population, coupled with the hectic pace of economic and trade development, has led to an increasing number of outbound leisure and business tourists from the UAE. As a result, the UAE’s share of total outbound tourist arrivals from the Middle East region has increased to 18% in 2004 compared to 12% in 2002,” Sen Gupta added. Sen Gupta noted that while UAE travellers are globetrotters, travelling to various parts of the world, nearly two-thirds of travel is concentrated in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions. According to him, intra-regional travel within the Gulf and to other Middle East destinations is set to further increase, the added impetus being provided by greater ease of air access with more flight connections and the emergence of low-cost carriers. “Inter-regional destinations in the Asia-Pacific region are also expected to gain while European destinations, some of which saw a decline in recent years, are re-emerging as strong contenders for increased tourist arrivals from the UAE,” he added.

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