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Regional cities 'popular travel choice during Ramadan'

DUBAI, May 22, 2018

Travelling during Ramadan is becoming increasingly popular amongst residents of the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, according to research conducted by the leading travel search website, Wego.
 
The company said that this has been especially true in recent years, as Ramadan has coincided with the peak travel season of school vacations and summer holidays.

 “About two-fifths of Ramadan and Eid trips are planned less than a week in advance by Wego users,” said Mamoun Hmedan, Wego managing director Mena region and India.
 
He added that this reflected a growing comfort among Middle Eastern travellers in “making impromptu travel decisions.”
 
“Also, more users than ever before seem to be exhibit a clear preference for travel within the region, with Cairo, Jeddah, and Alexandria receiving maximum flight traffic. Of this sub-set, a significant portion of the traffic can be attributed to Arab expats who travel homewards to spend Ramadan with their family members. And more than half this traveller base tends to book vacations lasting longer than one week, in the region’s busiest travel time of the year,” Hmedan said.
 
The senior executive said that Wego would continue to use its research to help cater to its ever-evolving customers in the region.
 
Wego travel experts examined trending destinations and travel behaviours across demographics, during Ramadan and Eid al Fitr, to present the following snapshot of the most exciting discoveries:

Popular destinations
Ramadan is an exciting time to see up-close the Islamic rituals and unique traditions of various Arab cities. As a result, around 75 per cent of Mena users prefer travelling within the region during Ramadan.

Cairo, Jeddah, Alexandria, Kuwait, Amman, Dubai, and Istanbul top the list of most flights booked by users in Mena region.

Of these, Dubai is considered a constant favourite, being home to a wide variety of some of the most renowned hotels in the world. Travellers in the region also flock to destinations such as Makkah, Al Madinah, and Sharm El Sheikh.

Many more Muslims from the region are also seen travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah, for business, or to spend Ramadan in their home country.

Interestingly, over 14 per cent of travellers from Saudi Arabia also choose domestic flights to popular destinations like Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Abha.

At the same time, the most frequented Southeast Asian getaways during this period were the popular Muslim-friendly cities of Jakarta (ranked first), Kuala Lumpur (ranked second), and Manila (ranked third).

Trip duration
According to the research, 68 per cent of roundtrip flight bookings involved more than a week of stay. Around 15.7 per cent of travellers stay for less than four days, while 16.7 per cent of them stay for four to seven days.

A Wego expert said that this behaviour could be attributed to the tendency of Mena residents to make the most of the school summer break, occurring during the same period, for wholesome family getaways.

In contrast, during the other months, only 48 per cent of travellers embark on trips longer than a week, while 31 per cent go on trips shorter than four days.

Lead time
According to Wego, close to 40 per cent of users book their Ramadan trip less than a week ahead, and for a trip duration that is more than a week, users plan the holiday almost one month ahead. The average lead time for making these Ramadan flight bookings is 26 days prior to the date of departure. On the other hand, for the non-Ramadan travel season, flight bookings tend to have a longer lead time of up to 38 days.

Also, when travelling as a family, users tend to book their trip much earlier (average of 11 days in advance) than solo travellers, for any time of the year.

Booking time
After working hours, between 7 pm and 10 pm, is the most active travel booking time across most months of the year. During the Ramadan period, however, the peak hours tend to be from 10 pm and 2 am.

Data also indicates that users are actively searching for flights and hotels even as early as 4 am, around the time of suhoor. However, conversion rates at this time of the day end up being relatively lower than peak hours.

Understandably, iftar, or 6 pm to 7 pm, is a less active time for travel shoppers. And after iftar, during prayer time (around 9 pm), also sees a drop in booking. - TradeArabia News Service
 




Tags: Mena | travel | Ramadan | regional | residents |

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