Demand for European destinations rose by 45 percent in August among Middle East travellers compared to the same period last year, according to a study by leading price comparison site HotelsCombined.
London, Paris and Frankfurt featured within travellers’ top five destinations alongside Kuala Lumpur and Dubai, said a statement.
Middle East travellers were also found to be spending substantially more per booking in these destinations than the global average. This was particularly evident in London, where the average stay value was 71 percent higher for Middle Eastern consumers at Dh12,443 ($3,387) over the global average of Dh3,609. Paris came second for Middle East travellers in terms of expenditure with an average stay value of Dh6,614, followed by Dubai at Dh4,962.
In terms of popularity, the affluent inner-city London neighbourhood of Marylebone was by far the most searched area for Middle Eastern travellers for the second year in a row, likely due to its proximity to attractions such as Hyde Park and for its abundance of high-end hotels including The Montcalm and The Churchill Hyatt Regency.
In Paris, bookings for hotels along the Champs-Elysees strip – home to the famed Arc de Triomphe and the Place de la Concorde – attracted the most interest among Middle East online users, it said.
Amer Al Halabi, regional manager of Mena for HotelsCombined, said: “Europe’s growing popularity among Middle Eastern travellers can be attributed to a number of different factors including the milder summer climate and the diverse retail and cultural experiences on offer. It’s also interesting to note just how much more Middle Eastern travellers are willing to spend on European accommodation compared to travellers from across the globe, a sign that Middle Eastern people are more apt to book longer-term and higher-end stays.”
In Dubai, the global average stay value has remained at a healthy rate (Dh5,120) this year thanks to the various cultural events and holidays taking place throughout the season.
Overall, HotelsCombined noted that hotels change their rates based on season and that prices will generally spike when demand starts to increase. Thus it is essential for travellers to use a meta-search engine such as HotelsCombined in order to compare prices in real time.
“Sometimes inventory can change due to cancellations so checking online is the key to finding the best available room and rate,” said Halabi.