Tajawal, one of the fastest growing Dubai-based online flight and hotel booking platforms in the UAE, celebrates its fourth anniversary with 2019 travel insights highlighting how residents across the UAE embrace regional destinations, value-for-money airline fares and mid-range hotels over the past 12 months.

Historical and culturally-rich cities such as Cairo, Amman and Beirut were amongst the top three vacation hotspots in 2019, closely followed by Colombo and Baku. As reported in 2018, July and August continue to be the peak season for travel as residents escape the summer season.

Boutique three-star hotels have also increased in popularity with 44% rise as opposed to luxurious 5-star hotel reservations that declined by 20% compared to 2018. Budget-minded travellers are seeking ‘no frills’ accommodation and there is a huge demand for mid-range and budget hotels offering authentic experiences and limited number of on-site amenities.

Muzzammil Ahussain, EVP of tajawal, said: “It has been a wonderful journey for tajawal so far. Offering flights on over 450 airlines, more than 1.5 million hotels and complete holiday packages, tajawal has achieved major milestones over the last four years, as over 757,000 passengers have travelled to 1,133 destinations and more than 356,000 room nights in 2,554 destinations were booked through our web and app channels. We have been constantly striving to deliver choice, flexibility and convenient booking experiences to our users through our intuitive platform and advanced homegrown solutions. We will continue to innovate and cater to the evolving travel needs and behaviours of UAE residents as we enter a new decade.”

2019 shows an increasing number of people opting for planned bookings versus last-minute getaways with the average booking window up by 12% as compared to 2018.

The trend of multiple short breaks also declined, with UAE residents taking longer holidays to destinations in the Middle East, Levant and Southeast Asia. Also, the average length-of-stay notably increased by 42% versus 2018 as holidaymakers explored diverse cultures, landscapes and climates.

Tajawal observed a shift in spend as low-cost carriers emerged as the preferred choice for air travel with 30% growth in share of bookings. Budget travellers are moving away from full-service airlines in favour of value-for-money services and low airfares.

Travellers booking with tajawal continue to put key aspects of their holiday booking process even more firmly in the hands of technology with 23% of total bookings made on the mobile app and 77% through the website.

In terms of travel trends for 2020, tajawal predicts that the ‘second city’ exploration will take a front seat as UAE residents forgo trips to traditionally popular cities. Countries including Macau, Russia, Japan, Thailand, Canada and the UK are currently the top trending destinations determined by flight bookings on tajawal.

Source: Asda’a BCW