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GCC’s travel intent rises steadily. Who are the audiences driving the demand?

June 22, 2021

The devastated tourism sector will be happy knowing a healthy and rapidly growing appetite for travel within the GCC, with travel demand rising.

With the increase in travel signals, we’ve been able to track a more in-depth set of trends and insights from GCC travellers. With GCC rising travel demand is being met with the obvious question, what next?

Continuing the story from last week’s article, “GCC’s future travel destinations” where we looked at the difference between travel to home vs travel to holiday and where those destinations were most likely to be.

Diving back into our Sila insights platform, we are now looking a little closer at the audiences behind these travel intentions to see what segmentation parameters drive a difference of intent specifically looking at those who want to travel for ‘holiday’ or ‘function’, away from home.

We looked at Sila data in 3 ways: who was driving the increased travel conversation, where were they looking to go, and what was driving the intent?

We can see that the majority demographics of travel conversation are 21 – 30 yrs at 36.3% and 31 – 40 yrs at 34.1%, but with slightly different preferences on destinations. 

For the younger demographic, France was a clear destination winner. Still, the next demographic age was more dispersed between Turkey, the USA, and France, with Great Britain coming in as a 3rd choice evenly for both demographic groups.

Travellers in their 20’s looking to escape, while those in their 30’s are all business.

We then look at what is driving the intent to travel and destination preference. A dominating number of travellers in their 20’s are looking for a vacation whereas those in their 30’s are split between vacation time and travelling for work. When we look at 40+, work becomes less important again, and vacation takes prominence, albeit at a much lesser demand.

Do destination preferences change intentions for travel or vice versa?

We can also analyse intent to travel by destination. Those that indicate Great Britain as a destination are more likely to be travelling for work than vacation. And those travelling to the US are most likely to be intending on studying or receiving medical treatment when travelling from the GCC. 

When looking at desirable activities or holiday themes, we saw a surprising focus on nature and culture and little interest in sea & beach from the GCC audience.  There is a clear craving to escape the sun and sand driven by the younger travellers. 

There is a lot to learn about the interrupted traveller, from intentions to travel to destinations of choice; nothing follows a typical pattern that we would expect. Expats are not looking to travel home to see loved ones finally, and youth are not chasing Sun and sand; mid-career is looking to work more. 

What is certain is that nothing is certain in travel at this moment in time. But the need for travel remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds as we strive to inject some normalcy into our lives. 

We will continue our travel article series with new ways to analyse the GCC traveller audience and gain further insights into the trends across the industry in the GCC.

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