DUBAI: dnata Travel, the UAE’s longest standing travel agency, has revealed UAE traveller trends for summer 2019, with one destination in particular booming in popularity: Russia.
Travel bookings to the world’s largest country, which became visa free for UAE nationals earlier this year, were up a whopping 500% for the travel agency from May to September 2019 compared to the same months the previous year.
Emily Williams, Head of Retail and Product at dnata Travel UAE, commented: “This year, travel to Russia has seen a massive spike in popularity from the UAE due to its cooler climate in the summer months, the lift on visa restrictions, and it being an affordable option, both to travel to, and to stay in opulent, 5-star accommodation.
“The majority, more than 70% of travellers booking with dnata Travel, stayed in 5-star hotels in Moscow – the capital city being the most popular location of choice – followed by its second largest city, Saint Petersburg.”
Additional reasons for booking trips to Russia from UAE travellers cited by dnata Travel’s in-house travel experts included interest in the country’s rich history, famous art and architecture, the grandeur of its buildings from palaces to metro stations, and the beauty of its untouched nature, combined with the world-class hotels and restaurants on offer there.
Williams commented: “Travellers from the UAE are becoming increasingly adventurous in their travel choices. Although we continue to see high demand for our most popular travel destinations overall including the Indian Ocean islands and the UK, we’ve experienced a spike in destinations emerging in popularity that are either ‘off-the-beaten-track’, long-haul options, or that have not previously recorded as much traction.”
Other locations that emerged in popularity for the travel agency this summer include: Finland, Taiwan, South Africa and New Zealand.
“Bookings for Finland are up 51% on 2018 with UAE residents travelling there in summer for a glimpse of the ‘midnight sun’, or later in the year around December, to go on the hunt for the Northern Lights,” Williams added.
“Following on from the popularity of travel to Japan and South Korea worldwide, Taiwan is popular this year from the UAE, with bookings up 47%. Emirates fly direct to Taipei daily, and travellers go to enjoy the excellent food, shopping, hiking, museums, meet its friendly people and take in its fantastic scenery. Now visa free as of August 2019 for UAE nationals, South Africa is also growing in popularity at an 8-10 hour flight time from Dubai and with so much to offer. UAE travellers are mainly booking to stay in the Western Cape, covering the popular Cape Town, Table Bay and the beautiful Garden Route.
“Further afield, bookings to New Zealand are up 23% as travellers are more willing to make the 17.5-hour-long trip with Emirates to reach this beautiful destination, and there’s also the option to fly to Auckland via Bali for a multi-destination trip. Once in New Zealand, it’s easy to self-drive. The most popular spot for UAE travellers is Queenstown on the South Island, famous for great skiing, and the beautiful Lake Wakatipu.”
Other, popular destinations for travel bookings from the UAE this summer compared to 2018 included: Vietnam (up 50%), Malaysia (up 34%), Cyprus (up 28%) and Zanzibar (up 21%) – locations that dnata Travel has previously recorded as popular travel destinations of choice from this part of the world.
Find out more about where dnata Travel can take you to worldwide at www.dnatatravel.com, by calling 800 DNATA (36282) or visiting its travel experts at its 30-plus outlets across the UAE.