Wego, an online travel marketplace in the MENA region, today released the MENA Traveller Destination Leaderboards for Q2-2018. This report highlights the rise and fall in popularity of travel destinations amongst travelers from the MENA region. The destination rankings are derived from the flight and hotel search activity of millions of Wego’s apps and websites users during the second quarter of 2018.
Global Destination Leaderboard
The second quarter of 2018 has seen significant changes in the ranking of the most popular destinations for MENA based travelers. This reflects the changing consumer tastes and shifting markets conditions within the region.
Egypt maintains its position as the undisputed #1 most popular destination of Q2, thanks to the continued patronage of both leisure and business travelers from the region. Visitors cannot seem to stay away from this enigmatic country – popular for its historical sites, stunning river cruises, bustling markets and all-round value for money.
India jumped a significant two places to the #2 position in Q2 2018 – up from #4 in Q2 2017. This is probably a result of the holy month of Ramadan beginning mid-May and many Gulf-based Indian expats who chose to travel to their home country during this period (or immediately afterward). Similarly, we see that Pakistan jumped two places, from #11 to the #9 position for the same reason.
Saudi Arabia has been pushed down to the #3 spot. Yes, it remains a popular destination in Q2 among domestic and international visitors who travel for business, leisure and Umrah purposes. Turkey was also moved down one spot in Q2 2018 to #4 position. But the nation is looking especially affordable for GCC-based travelers this year, owing to continued currency weakness and tourism numbers reflecting strong demand.
Overall, the UAE retains its spot as the fifth most popular destination; a position that it has been holding on to for the last four quarters. Dubai specifically improved it’s ranking by one position in 2018 with maximum visitors interest stemming from KSA, at the expense of Alexandria which dropped by two places. At the same time, visitors from Kuwait to Dubai declined this quarter.
Travel to the Philippines from the MENA region saw strong growth in Q2 2018. This appears to have been caused by expats traveling home during Ramadan, marketing efforts by the Philippine Department of Tourism and the opening up of new airline routes.
Lebanon, now at rank #11, has emerged as this quarter’s big gainer – up by four places on the Wego Traveller Destination Leaderboards. This rise also appears to be caused by a combination of GCC-based Lebanese expats traveling home for summer vacations and interest from affluent GCC tourists looking to escape the heat this year.
Finally, it’s important to highlight how Azerbaijan is another big climber in 2018 – now ranked #17, up three spots from Q2 last year. Working in Azerbaijan’s favor is the fact that it’s only a short flight from the MENA region, and offers great weather, halal food, and cultural familiarity. It’s also a great example of why any destination that is serious about tourism needs to streamline their visa policies.