The appetite for travel among Saudi nationals has remained resilient with 73 percent confident to travel as restrictions are partially lifted, accordinf to a new survey.
In a boost to the domestic leisure travel market, 35 per cent of Saudi nationals said they are keen on discovering the growing cultural, adventure and entertainment offering in their home country, as they chose a staycation in the Kingdom as a preferred travel option post COVID-19.
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These findings are from the first dedicated survey covering 3,000 participants for Saudi Arabia around post COVID-19 travel by the Kingdom’s leading omni-channel travel brand Almosafer, which is part of the Seera Group.
The survey amongst Saudi nationals was conducted online from May 14 - May 20, 2020, with respondents from all across the KIngdom.
Top destinations for domestic travel
Mecca and Jeddah were identified as the top destinations for domestic travel, with other metropolitan cities amongst the top choices (Riyadh, Dammam) and more experiential destinations such as AlUla, Taif and Abha of rising interest.
According to Almosafer, the results in terms of domestic travel are consistent with searches across their app and web channels. As compared to the previous month, an 83 percent increase in domestic searches was recorded from May 1 till date.
Domestic travel was only topped slightly by the wider GCC, with 38 percent of Saudis indicating their first venture out of the Kingdom will be to its neighboring countries.
As for destinations further afield, 38 percent also chose Asia for a potential first trip post pandemic.
Travelling with family was preferred by 50 percent of Saudi nationals, followed by 29 percent who said they would go in smaller groups of friends in keeping with the social distancing mindset.
In terms of mode of transport, Saudis preference was journeys by car (48 percent) or short haul flights (40 percent), with religious tourism of the highest priority in terms of travel purpose (42 percent).
Given the closure of Mecca during Ramadan, once the city opens, bookings are expected to rise quickly amongst the domestic market.
The survey also found that 58 percent of Saudi travelers would opt for trips shorter than 7 days. But overall, there is also a large appetite for trips that exceed the duration of a weekend getaway with 42 percent planning to go for longer than a week.
The majority of Saudi travelers who took part in the survey mentioned social distancing and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) rules applicable in-destination would be crucial information necessary before making a travel decision (60 percent).
Clarity on safety measures taken by airlines an hotels is also considered critical for 55 percent of travelers to help build confidence.
Travel advice through online and offline channels will furthermore play a significant role in the new normal, as Saudis seek reassurance on their choices (36 percent), to help fully restore travel confidence.
“In the first dedicated study of Saudi sentiment in relation to post pandemic travel it is encouraging to see the passion for travel in the Kingdom remains resilient. The interest in domestic leisure travel also provides a real opportunity to accelerate the development of tourism in the Kingdom and focus on the growing cultural, adventure and entertainment offerings waiting to be explored,” said Muzzammil Ahussain, Executive Vice President at Almosafer.
“We have already taken the initiative to invest into the creation of a holistic domestic offering for our flagship consumer brand Almosafer. This will include packages and travel options for all major destinations within the Kingdom, as well as those that are lesser known but full of exciting things to explore. We look forward to enabling Saudis to fully discover their own country and its vast touristic opportunities.”
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