Saturday 11 July 2020

Saudi family travel is dominating the tourism segment - report

RIYADH, July 22, 2018

Family and multi-generational travel is a rapidly expanding tourist segment within the global tourism industry, especially in the Middle East, with a number of Saudis willing to explore new destinations outside their comfort zones, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Konstantina Boutsioukou, a travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Family trips dominate outbound travel from the GCC. For instance, in Saudi Arabia family travel accounts for 73.1 per cent of international departures, a fact that highlights the great opportunities for businesses willing to target this cohort.”

Saudi travellers typically stay within the Middle East. Bahrain, the UAE and Jordan are the three most visited destinations. Jordan, realising the potential that lies in family travel, has effectively tapped into this trend by diversifying its tourism offering to match the needs of these visitors.

Boutsioukou said: “Visits to historical heritage sites such as Petra, Wadi Rum and the Gulf of Aqaba add an educational aspect to trips. Families can combine a cultural trip with a sun and beach holiday where they can relax in the seaside resorts of the Red Sea and enjoy the area’s nature and milder climate. The political stability and security, as well as the shared language, religion and values, have also played an important role in the popularity of Jordan among Saudis.”

GlobalData’s report: ‘Tourism Source Market Insights: Gulf Cooperation Council’ states that though the GCC countries make up only 12.6 per cent of the total population of the Middle East, they comprise 64.2 per cent of the total international departures from the region, a fact that highlights the importance and potential of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula as a global tourism source market. Furthermore, Qataris and Kuwaitis are topping the global list of average outbound expenditure per resident.

There are substantial opportunities for businesses outside the Middle East to tap into the growing GCC tourist market. Given the importance that most Muslim GCC residents place on their religion, respecting their faith, showing an understanding of their culture and trying to cater for their specific needs is essential for businesses willing to target this market.

Boutsioukou added: “Hoteliers, tour operators and food service businesses can provide prayer mats and the direction of Qibla (prayer direction) as well as include halal food and special buffets during Ramadan and not offer alcohol."  

“Furthermore, respecting the desire of travellers to be physically close to their family members, even if this means staying on the same floor or in adjacent rooms in a hotel, businesses can ensure that they are creating a friendly and accepting environment that will make their visitors feel at ease, despite substantial differences in culture and social norms,” she said. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Saudi Arabia | travel | family |

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