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  • Positive sentiment & the GCC’s next travel destination.

    March 1, 2021

    Close your eyes for a second and reminisce those times when a holiday was just a ticket (& visa) away. It is quite difficult to wrap up our heads around the fact that it has been a whole year since last March. The previous year has been quite eventful, yet, felt like a blur. Although, we initially thought it wouldn’t take this long, COVID has shaped up our reality and it seems like it will take quite some time before it is in the past. Vaccines have arrived loaded up with lots of positivity, specially for the travel industry. Now, with the GCC being global leaders in vaccine intake, it is just a matter of time before planning holidays is a thing again – probably after getting our hands on a vaccination passport. But where is the GCC’s next travel destination?

    Revisiting the travel conversation

    In our last article, we left off with a huge finding. We identified that the GCC audience wanted to fly out, and quite anywhere at this point. Sila analysed over 77K tweets created by 38K users from Kuwait, KSA and the UAE out of which the majority mentioned travelling without identifying a location.

    Percentage of travel destination mentions across the GCC
    Percentage of travel destination mentions across the GCC

    84% of our population mentioned travelling without identifying any specific destination.

    This led us to imply that the GCC population may just be craving a holiday at this rate. Yes, most cities are out of lockdown, roaming locally could be easy, but it is definitely not the same as international travel. After a year of staying in town, most of our sample want to travel and at this point, probably anywhere.

    However, we thought it would be quite interesting to look at the remainder of the mentions, the 16% which mentioned different destinations.

    Where to?

    Within the GCC, Kuwait was the most mentioned country in 2021 so far, with the KSA coming in close second. However, other Middle Eastern countries also rank highly, with Egypt, gaining the highest number of mentions outside the GCC.

    We have also realised that news shape up our conversations. The peaks in mentions had been gained by different governmental announcements; whether it be travel restrictions, vaccine availabilities or potential lockdowns.

    These however, could change when looking at specific cities. Mentions of Dubai for example, could be higher than mentions of the UAE.

    Mentions of countries in the MENA region associated with travel
    Mentions of countries in the MENA region associated with travel

    Top 10 mentions

    Our top 10 for 2021 (so far) for country mentions are as follows.

    1. Kuwait
    2. Saudi Arabia
    3. Egypt
    4. UAE
    5. Qatar
    6. Bahrain
    7. Turkey
    8. China
    9. India
    10. Brazil

    Noticeably, the United States has dropped out of the top 10 where it ranked in fourth in 2020. Also, no European countries rank amongst the top 10. France and the UK were within the most mentioned countries in 2020.

    The Sentiment

    Positivity all over.

    The vast majority of the conversation about travel is positive. This can be related to the positivity that has been gained by the wide-spread availability and intake of vaccines across the GCC. Although, many countries (including the KSA) remain under travel restrictions, this has not affected the sentiment negatively.

    Sentiment over time for mentions of travel
    Sentiment over time for mentions of travel

    79% of the overall travel mentions in 2021 have been in-fact positive. Although February had a decrease in positive sentiment, there was also a decrease in negative sentiment – this is fully contributed to the drop in number of travel mentions.


    Dreamy content gets people on-board.

    Vaccines have become available in the GCC, and in many countries outside the region and almost 85% of our audience are indecisive on a travel destination. This is the best opportunity for marketeers to give them one.

    It is just a matter of time before the industry starts booming again. Yes, it might take a little bit of time to fully steady the ship, but it is time to start steering.


    DA has built a custom data warehouse service called Sila, powered by data science we turn that raw social data into actionable insights.

    Sign up to our monthly newsletter, where we have recently discussed The Art and Science of Influencers and Audience First Planning or click here and use the contact form to get in touch.

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