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Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan top destinations for UAE travellers

DUBAI, April 19, 2018

Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Nepal have emerged as the top destination choices for travellers in the UAE in the last 12 months, new data showed.

According to an analysis conducted by Travelport, a leading travel commerce platform, bookings made in the UAE from April 1, 2017, to March 31 through all global distribution systems (GDS) to Saudi Arabia increased by 30,000, up 11 per cent on the previous 12 months. Bookings to Azerbaijan rose by nearly 20,000, up 50 per cent, and to Nepal by just over 15,000, up 27 per cent.

This data reflects bookings made in the UAE through GDS only. Additional booking will have been made directly with airlines, which may or may not also have a GDS presence.

Global distribution systems (GDS) are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel-related items. Globally in 2017, Travelport alone processed 1 trillion transactions through its three GDS: Galileo, Worldspan and Apollo.

Matthew Powell, Travelport’s managing director for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, said: “Growth in flight bookings tends to be driven by increased airline capacity, rises in demand from leisure travellers and economic or political advances, which attract more commercial interest. The results we’re seeing here cut across all of these.

The growth in booking volume to Saudi Arabia reflects the country’s escalating attractiveness as a tourist hotspot, the strength of business ties with the UAE and new capacity added by airlines like Etihad. Azerbaijan also continues to be a standout performer. The number of tourists arriving from Arab countries has increased more than 30 times in recent years, buoyed by new capacity from carriers such as flydubai. Nepal has also benefited from additional flights being added to world-renowned tourist destinations like Kathmandu and its state-owned carrier, Nepal Airlines, resuming flights to and from Dubai after a four-year hiatus.”

Kuwait and Ethiopia completed the top five positions in the table compiled by Travelport. Kuwait saw an increase of just over 13,500 (up 16 per cent) in bookings made in the UAE through all GDS, while Ethiopia recorded a rise of just over 13,000 (up 36 per cent).

Out of the 10 countries with the largest volume growth, the biggest movers in terms of percentage were Armenia, which saw an increase of 142 per cent in flight bookings made in the UAE through all GDS during the last 12 months, and Georgia, which registered a rise of 80 per cent.

Powell added: “Over the years, Travelport has invested significantly in developing analytics products for travel agents and airlines as we recognise the scale of the impact they can have on their bottom line. Even relatively straight forward booking analysis, like we have done here, can help travel agents evolve the packages they offer in line with traveller demand. It can also support airlines in identifying needs to dial up or down flight capacity on certain routes. We are already seeing business won and lost through the effective analysis of the industry, business and competitive data, and this will only happen more in the years to come as companies become more sophisticated in how they use it.”

Next week, Travelport will participate in the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai for the 10th consecutive year. Its stand (TT1320) will include demo pods that allow visitors to experience how the company helps travel agents and airlines drive revenue by delivering intelligence through analytics tools like Travelport Business Insights and Travelport Competitive Insights. The pods will also showcase how the company provides real-time access to a wide variety of high-quality travel content and enables companies to engage travellers throughout their travel journey by using mobile applications like Trip Assist. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: UAE | Saudi | GDS | travellers | Nepal | Travelport | Azerbaijan | Arabia |

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