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Egypt top destination for Mideast travellers

Regional travellers ranked Egypt as their top destination, while global cross-border tourism is showing good growth, according to a new study.

The Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 by Visa found that travellers will increase budgets for their next trip by an average of five percent with some holidaymakers even suggesting that they would more than double what they spent on their previous trip.

The regular barometer of travel trends for Visa indicates budgets are no longer among the top three reasons behind why travelers choose their holiday destination. The pull of attractions, scenery and rich culture are stronger reasons for travel, it said.

The study found that Egyptians plan to travel more than the global average of respondents along with Saudi Arabians, Brazilians, and Chinese.

According to the survey, top choices for intended travel destinations among Middle East and African respondents were Egypt, Turkey, Spain and France.

“17 percent of travelers from the Middle East and Africa say Egypt was their top choice destination, making it the highest ranked destination for that market,” said Tarek Elhousseiny, general manager for Visa North and Francophone Africa. “It’s very encouraging to see that Egypt still ranks among the top destinations in the region following political unrest.

“The study also showed us that the majority of travellers who visit Egypt prefer to arrange packaged tours (48 percent) as opposed to booking their own arrangements. Further, according to the survey, 55 percent of Egyptians travelling abroad would prefer to pay extra for someone to arrange their holidays for them.”

According to the study, which surveyed 12,631 travellers from 25 countries, the average global travel budget of $2,390 per trip is set to increase to $2,501.

Top spenders abroad in the past were the Saudi Arabians, spending an average of $6,666 per trip, while Australian ($4,118) and Chinese travelers ($3,824) were not far behind.

Future travel budget increases are especially high amongst Asian markets with a predicted increase of 46 percent – travelers from Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong all plan to at least double the budget of their last trip in the future, it said.

Elhousseiny said: “Visa has been running the Travel Intentions Study since 2006 and is committed to using the results to identify changes and developments to better understand the travel and tourism environment, contributing to the level of information the industry can use to make informed decisions which benefit the traveler and the industry at large.”

Ross Jackson, head of cross-border in Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa, said: “Global economic woes have been well-documented over the past few years but our Visa Global Travel Intentions Study 2013 hints at a change in both the financial landscape and consumer mindset, suggesting either economic recovery or a growing appetite for larger travel budgets. Both provide excellent news for everyone involved in the global travel and tourism industry.”

Visa’s study revealed that the US ranked as the most popular destination choice for global travellers, both for trips taken in the past two years (17 percent) and for intended travel in 2013 (10 percent).

Other top destinations in 2011 and 2012 included the United Kingdom (12 percent), France (12 percent) and China, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong (all 10 percent).


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