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US and Turkey amongst GCC’s first ideal travel destinations

November 30, 2020

You’re probably like us, craving a flight out for a quick vacation. Unfortunately, since the start of the  wide-spread of COVID-19, this has not been freely possible – at least to most destinations. Previously, we had identified a list of potential first destinations that the GCC were interested in travelling to; however, with the hit of the second wave, travel has been anything but smooth. With some countries going back in to lockdown, and others re-raising travel restrictions, the tourism industry is yet to go back to normal. On the other hand, Dubai continues to accept tourists and remains open for travel.

We re-visited our data warehouse, Sila, and took a closer look at mentions of travel on Twitter and re-visited the ideal GCC destinations.

The Conversation

Overall, the conversation continues to fluctuate, with mentions increasing and decreasing depending on new announcements. The highest peak was witnessed on the 15th of October which coincides with the announcement of a lockdown in London and the opening of the Ras Al Khaimah airport for travelers.

While September was a quiet period for travel enthusiasts, interest has been rising yet again and the GCC’s backpacks are ready to get going.

Travel mentions in the GCC over time
Travel mentions in the GCC over time

Intent to Travel

Furthermore, we investigated further and identified those that had intentions of travel and the results were quite remarkable.

While July had a big number of travel-related tweets, only 36% of those had an intention to travel. Fast forward to November and there’s a bigger chunk of the audience that actually intend to travel. There were 1,160 travel tweets published on the 11th of November,  52% of those actually wanted to take action to fly out. Keeping in mind that although winter is a low season for GCC travelers (outside the GCC), we would expect to see a bigger number of travelers during summer.

Travel tweets vs Intend to Travel
Travel tweets vs Intend to Travel

GCC’s Ideal Destinations

Upon analysing a total of 221k travel tweets, we identified 84k that intended to travel. We further analysed those wanting to travel and the results were as follows.

We previously identified Kuwait as the GCC’s favourable destination and contributed that to local flights, KSA came in second leaving the UAE in third. This has changed as of recently, with the UAE (open for tourism) taking the first spot, leaving Kuwait in second. As expected, Dubai remains the most mentioned city.

In terms of other Asian non-Arab countries, Turkey takes the top spot. Again, this is quite identical to our previous analysis with China and Thailand in close second and third.

France and the UK also make our top 10 list, with over 2,000 mentions each.

  1. UAE > 10k mentions
  2. Kuwait 9.2k mentions
  3. KSA 7.9k mentions
  4. USA 3.1k mentions
  5. Turkey 3k mentions
  6. France 2.9k mentions
  7. Oman 2.24k mentions
  8. UK 2.23k mentions
  9. China 2.1k mentions
  10. Thailand 2k mentions
Mentions of top travel destinations
Mentions of top travel destinations

DA’s Recommendations

As a creative consultancy agency, Digital Ape recommends the tourism sector to start advertising.

This is the right time to set an impression with the continuous increase in number of consumers intending to travel.

Now, that vaccines are expected to roll-out with the beginning of 2021, the travel industry will be fully back in operation sooner than ever. This time, travelers are going to be more eager than ever to travel, with the GCC looking to travel outwards to the West visiting one or more of their ideal destinations.


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

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