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Report: MENA to become 2nd fastest growing online travel market worldwide

The region is highly susceptible to fast online adoption, with more and more bookings to be made online.

The Middle East currently has the lowest online penetration globally Only 33% of bookings were made online in 2018 The overall travel market in the Middle East will reach $100 billion in gross bookings value by 2022

Travel technology provider Amadeus, has revealed key findings from an in-depth study into online travel markets in the Middle East, looking specifically at the leisure and unmanaged business travel segments.

The Middle East currently has the lowest online penetration globally with 33% of bookings being made online in 2018. However, the report reveals that the region is especially receptive to growth in the online travel sector– with an increase of 14% expected year-on-year, which will make the MENA region the second fastest growing online travel market in the world. The study highlights that by 2022, 44% of all activity will be conducted online, compared to 33% in 2018. 

A preview of the study, Middle East Online Travel Overview, co-sponsored by Amadeus and conducted by Phocuswright, the global travel market research company, was shared at the annual Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. The report aims to deliver highly insightful sizing and comparison statistics by travel product segment, booking channel, and country in addition to detailed analysis of the focus markets of United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Egypt. The study also provides a competitive analysis and market intelligence to aid online travel companies in their strategic planning and decision making – assessing growth opportunities and trends for up-and-coming regional destinations. 

Thierry Dongier, Director of Online Sales at Amadeus Middle East and Africa, said: “As a region deeply committed to digital transformation, it is no surprise that the Middle East is one of the fastest growing in the world in the online travel sector."

Raquel López, Senior Consultant at Insight Out Consultancy, and Phocuswright's Middle East analyst, explained: "The overall travel market in the Middle East is expected to continue growing and will reach $100 billion in gross bookings value by 2022. This market represents over 172 million people, with 71% below the age of 34, internet savvy, social-media active and having a huge appetite for travel. This, together with a number of government-led and private business collaborations, will enhance travel growth and secure confidence in the travel industry in the region, particularly in online travel”.