International travel to see steeper growth in 2023, predicts Musafir.com International travel to see steeper growth in 2023, predicts Musafir.com
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International travel to see steeper growth in 2023, predicts Musafir.com

International travel to see steeper growth in 2023, predicts Musafir.com

The average annual business travel spend of SMEs in the UAE is expected to grow by 15-20 per cent in 2023

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Online travel agency Musafir.com has predicted that international travel will witness faster growth in 2023 versus 2022.

“The travel sector constitutes nearly 10 per cent of the global GDP and authorities across countries have been collaborating synergistically to put in place the required levels of safety, hygiene and comfort required for the sector to regain its lost ground.

“Consequently, FY 2022 witnessed a steady recovery for leisure as well as business travel, on the back of a significant reduction in pandemic-related risk, eased travel regulations worldwide, and enhanced travellers’ confidence and the desire at corporate levels to resume productive in-person engagements. The trend would only strengthen in 2023,” said Sachin Gadoya, co-founder and CEO of Musafir.com and Musafir Business.

Business travel trends
The data and trends, gathered through queries and bookings on Musafir Business platform, forecast business travellers to continue choosing first and business class, despite a rise of around 10-15 per cent in airfare. Premium economy will also see a rise in popularity.

All put together, the average corporate travel budget in 2023 would rise by 15-20 per cent, bringing it to a level comparable to pre-pandemic days.

Gadoya added, “Insights obtained from Musafir Business platform establish very clearly that the organisations in the UAE prefer face-to-face interaction for building trust and longevity in their business relationship. With considerably eased travel regulations these days, the average annual business travel spend of SMEs in the UAE is expected to grow by 15-20 per cent in 2023 – from Dhs185,000 (2022) to Dhs220,000 (2023), which is indeed very close to the pre-pandemic figure of 2019 i.e. Dhs250,000.”

The GCC, India, UK, EU countries, and USA will continue to remain the key inbound and outbound destinations for business travellers in the region, who undertake such trips not just for regular meetings with colleagues and partners across various offices but also to forge new relationships by participating in events such as exhibitions, conferences, trade shows, etc.

Leisure travel trends
Value propositions, hassle-free visa destinations, shorter flight duration and cruises will continue to attract leisure travellers from the UAE.

Cruise holidays will be one of the most important tourism trends in 2023, providing a unique opportunity for travellers to explore new destinations combined with activities that suit everyone on a cruise ship.

On the leisure side, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Serbia, Albania, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan were the key choices of holiday destinations in 2022 for passengers from the UAE.

Musafir.com expects CIS countries to continue being the top preference of leisure travellers from the UAE.

“Passengers from the UAE enjoy visiting these countries due to the colder weather and acceptable flight duration of three-four hours. Not only are these places appropriate for holidaying with family and kids, but there are also plenty of budget hotels and value-for-money deals in these destinations to choose from. Overall, these holiday destinations provide customers with an extremely good value for their money,” added Gadoya.

This preference for value propositions in both airfare and accommodation will persist in 2023 as well. Gadoya also highlighted the expected increase in leisure travel to the UK and EU countries in 2023, especially Britain, France and Switzerland compared to going back home.

“Pandemic-led travel restrictions and visa challenges didn’t permit many travellers to visit these destinations. With the situation easing out, the demand for holidays across UK and EU countries will soar in 2023,” Gadoya elaborated. Additionally, leisure travellers from UAE prefer visiting countries that offer hassle-free easy visas, which could be e-visas, visa-on-arrival or visa-free destinations.

The average spend per person on a holiday is also expected to rise by 15-20 per cent from Dhs2,50o in 2022 to Dhs3,000 in 2023, chiefly due to increased airfares. Therefore, the flexibility of pricing and options to choose from is likely to influence traveller’s choices regarding airlines and hotels.  

”Based on the learning and insights processed at our technical and innovation hubs in the UAE and India, the industry should gear up for offering outbound leisure travellers an even mix of budget as well as luxury options. We envisage the budget versus luxury travel demand to remain stable at 50 per cent each.  Also, we see a marked skew towards a demand for flexible fares in the coming year,” Gadoya added.

Read: Travel trends: More than 50% people in UAE and Saudi Arabia are seeking new experiences

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