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  • Travel forecast for 2022 – Part 2: GCC traveller profiles forecast for 2022

    January 6, 2022

    You can tell a lot about someone by their personality and preferences – it’s a marketer’s best tool for success. And when it comes to understanding how people make holiday decisions, understanding who they are as a person is key.

    That’s why we used our Arabic-native AI-enabled Consumer Intelligence platform Sila to monitor key trends from GCC travellers to understand what makes them tick.

    Using this analysis, we’ve been able to pinpoint the personality and preference trends that run across GCC travellers. When combined with the travel destination analysis discussed in part one of this series, you can use it to create a curated marketing strategy that resonates with your audience.

    As we go through each section, we’ll be looking holistically at GCC travellers and then zoning in on some key trends in specific countries that buck the trend.

    So, who is your GCC traveller? Let’s find out.

    GCC traveller profiles: The big five personality traits

    A commonly used criteria to understand personality profiles is the “big five personality traits.” They have been developed over the past 90 years and are highly regarded amongst psychologists as being a strong indicator of personality traits across all cultures.

    So, it makes sense to use it to understand how GCC travellers are. The five personality traits are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. They exist on a spectrum and are often classified as low, neutral, or high.

    Here’s how the average GCC traveller ranks for each and what it means.


    Across the board, GCC travellers tested high for openness. This means they are open to new things, curious, and imaginative. This is reflective of the trend we saw in part one that shows this demographic’s intention to explore culture while on holiday.

    GCC Personality Profiles


    Once again, this trait is seen at a high level across the demographic. This indicates a personality type that is self-disciplined, self-regulating, organised, and likes to take their time with decisions. This personality type benefits from rich information availability.


    GCC travellers scored a neutral-high level of extraversion, indicating an outgoing, sociable, and excitement-seeking mentality. Therefore, highlighting social aspects of holidays may be beneficial for marketing to this personality type.

    The only exception to this trend is Oman, where travellers ranked as low extraversion, being more reserved and preferring solitude.


    GCC travellers ranked neutral-high in agreeableness. This would suggest that GCC travellers are trusting, straightforward, altruistic, and empathetic. However, those from Qatar were seen to have low levels of agreeableness.


    In the GCC, travellers tend to present with neutral-low levels of neuroticism. This means they are confident, emotionally stable, and unlikely to make rash decisions based on negative emotions.

    Kuwait is the only country to show high levels of neuroticism, indicating a more anxious personality profile.

    Travel personality type table

    Travel values and needs

    Next up in our target audience profile builder is personal values. These are the values that GCC travellers have indicated are important to them through analysis of their travel tweets.

    There has been a big trend in hedonism values across GCC citizens, particularly in Kuwait, Qatar, and the KSA. Hedonism refers to an affinity for luxury and decadence and would indicate a preference for a more high-end or boutique travel experience.

    GCC tourists personality profile

    Given that destinations such as Dubai, London, Milan, and the Maldives topped travel destination intentions amongst this demographic in 2021, it’s safe to assume that they prefer the finer things in life.

    With the exception of Kuwait and Qatar, there is a strong value of openness to change across this demographic, which can also be seen in the big five personality analysis. As such, holidays are more likely to be adventure-seeking.

    When it comes to personal needs expressed by GCC travellers, it was found that they prioritise:

    • Self-expression
    • Curiosity
    • Ideal
    • Love (except in Qatar and Kuwait)

    This paints the picture of a holiday-goer that seeks the romance and excitement of discovering new cultures, meeting new people, and feeling free.
    Coincidently, liberty was high on the list of needs detected in Qatar and Kuwait, which further pushes this narrative.

    What’s interesting is that structure consistently ranked mid-tier on the needs list. In terms of holiday preferences, this could indicate a shift from package holidays and into wanting options to tailor-make their holiday experience as they see fit, with ample possibility for adjustments.

    GCC Travellers values

    GCC traveller profiles: Hobbies and preferences

    If personality and values are the cake, hobbies and preferences are the icing and cherry on top. By understanding the likes, dislikes, and hobbies of your target audience, you can more successfully market holidays to GCC travellers using proven enticers.


    There is a strong preference for style and quality over comfort when it comes to clothing. GCC travellers pay more attention to how they look than how the clothes feel. This strongly reflects the hedonism value detected by our analysis and further indicates an affinity for luxury.

    GCC Clothes Preferences


    Documentaries top the genres of films that GCC travellers enjoy – perhaps reflected in the preference for cultural experiences on travels. Action and sci-fi films come second and third, which can be linked to the high levels of openness seen amongst the demographic.

    GCC movie preferences


    In Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and the UAE, reading is enjoyed by many. Incidentally, the most popular book genre is non-fiction and finance books, once again painting the picture of a traveller who enjoys spending money on luxury.

    Starting a business ranks highly on preferences in the KSA, Kuwait, and Qatar. This further underlines the point made above.

    In Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman, volunteering is a popular pastime, which makes sense given the higher levels of agreeableness detected amongst this population.

    GCC hobby preferences

    Social media and influence

    Finally, understanding who your GCC traveller is means nothing if you don’t know where or how to reach them.

    That’s why we analysed the ways in which this population tends to be influenced when on social media.

    Across the board, this demographic is strongly persuaded by adverts on social media, meaning this is a valuable marketing method to consider.

    Brand names tend to work better in the KSA and the UAE, so you may want to consider using more PR-centric tactics in these countries.

    GCC travel influence

    Overall, 20% of the population sampled were influenced by what family members were posting online, so creating highly shareable content will be integral to reaching the GCC holidaymakers you are catering your services to.

    There has been a strong trend in the GCC of getting bored easily by social media platforms. YouTube views are down substantially. TikTok had a huge boom over the pandemic, but those numbers are slowly starting to decline. However, with the introduction of reels on Instagram, views on Instagram are steadily rising.

    Therefore, it is safe to say that the best way to reach GCC travellers is to use a mixture of TikTok and Instagram.


    When you can pinpoint exactly what makes your target audience tick, you give yourself the tools to create a marketing strategy that’s sure to appeal and convert into sales. And the more specific you can get, the better.

    What we can tell from the analysis of social media posts by GCC travellers is that there seems to be a strong appeal of luxury items and experiences, which they hold in high regard. We can see this through their clothes preferences, reading preferences, an attraction to starting new businesses, and a general high value of hedonism observed.

    They are also adventure-seeking individuals with a curiosity for new cultures and experiences, which means providing holidays for them that take them out of their status quo.

    They know what they like and won’t be easily swayed by gimmicks, instead choosing to make decisions based on ample information and consideration.

    When you combine this information with the travel destinations outlined in part one, you find a strong profile emerge as to who the GCC traveller is and how they are preparing to travel in 2022.

    This means you can confidently and strategically take this information to create marketing strategies that are guaranteed to appeal to the GCC travellers that are desperate to get back to travelling.

    If you haven’t yet checked out part one, click on the link here.

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