Report: Flight bookings to MEA drop by almost 100%

Data from Sojern shows the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour

Flight searches to Dubai have been strong, suggesting optimism for future holidays
Flight searches to Dubai have been strong, suggesting optimism for future holidays

As of April 20 2020, year-on-year flight bookings to MEA have dropped by 96.6%, reflecting the enormous impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry. In the latest report from travel marketing technology company Sojern, it highlighted how the virus is changing consumer behaviour.

Country by country, global flight bookings to MEA have dropped by 77.9% in Bahrain, 97.5% in Kuwait, 93.4% in Oman, 99.6% in KSA, 93.1% in Turkey, 94.3% in the UAE and 92.9% in Egypt.

Using the UAE as a reference point, Sojern has suggested that domestic travel in the region may sooner recover than international travel. Year-over-year change in searches from the UAE shows that international hotels have seen a 66.5% drop, while domestic properties have seen a 42.9% drop.

More positive trends emerge in the UAE when looking at future tourism from European travellers to the Arab country. Flight searches from UK users show a sharp increase for Dubai and Abu Dhabi moving into April, suggesting people are planning future holidays while in lockdown.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently updated its assessment of the virus and its impact on the travel industry. The latest figures point towards the industry losing US$314 billion in revenues this year.

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