Travel on low-cost carriers 'increasing' in ME
Dubai, December 23, 2010
Travel on low-cost carriers is increasing in the Middle East, reports the latest Travel Tracker from YouGov Siraj, the leading full service research agency in the region.
Online booking for business and leisure travel continues to strengthen, according to the research tool tracking current and future travel trends annually.
Compared to 2009, more travellers are using low-cost carriers (LCCs) for short-haul flying—both for business (64 per cent in 2010 vs 48 per cent in 2009) and for leisure (67 per cent in 2010 vs 61 per cent in 2009), the survey revealed.
Two-thirds of leisure travellers (67 per cent) and three-in-five business travellers (58 per cent) expect to travel more on LCCs in the next year. In contrast, only about one-in-eight (13 per cent) leisure travellers and one-in-five business travellers (19 per cent) say they are less likely to use LCCs this year.
Usage of LCCs is primarily driven by cost and value considerations, both cited by about a third of respondents (30 per cent and 35 per cent, respectively). Also working in the favour of LCCs, nearly all UAE leisure travellers (98 per cent) and a large majority of business travellers (71 per cent) primarily flew in Economy last year.
“While budgets are likely to increase in the near future, travellers have had enough of cutting back and are turning to LCCs as a way to get more out of the budget they have now,” stated Scott Booth, research manager for Travel and Tourism at YouGov Siraj.
“Most travellers are flying economy regardless of the carrier, and the LCC trends signal a diminished distinction between an economy seat on a legacy carrier and what is essentially the same seat on an LCC.'
More than four-in-five business and leisure travellers (83 per cent for both) booked a trip online in the past year. Half of leisure travellers (50 per cent) and one-quarter of business travellers (25 per cent) said they booked all trips online in 2010. This gap may close in the near future, however, with nearly half of business travellers (44 per cent) expecting to use online booking more in the coming year.
“Online booking is often underestimated in the Middle East, but our results show that online is a key channel for travel booking in the UAE,” said Booth.
In terms of business travel in 2010, India (with 7 per cent of last business trips taken to the country) remains the most popular business destination, but has lost ground in the past year to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan (all with 5 per cent of last trips).
Business travel to the UK is expected to increase over the coming year with 4 per cent of respondents taking their last trip there and 6 per cent expecting it to be their next destination, the survey showed.-TradeArabia News Service