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Staycations and slow travel gain ground among UAE residents

Staycations and slow travel gain ground among UAE residents
7 May 2024 08:37

Allan Jacob (Abu Dhabi)

More UAE residents are opting for staycations in destinations closer home as the country opens new tourist attractions while the hospitality sector witnesses a boom after the pandemic.

With a wealth of attractions across the country – from beaches to shopping malls to theme parks – residents continue to seek getaways close to home, with searches for UAE hotels increasing by 11% year-on-year, according to the survey by

UAE residents also prefer GCC destinations to spend their holidays, said the report. Countries like Kuwait have seen a jump in interest by 40%, while Oman saw a rise in 46%; Bahrain and Qatar are also trending with a 55% jump in interest from those living in the UAE.

“Our guest searches have revealed fascinating insights into the destinations which UAE residents are most interested in,” said Aligi Gardenghi, Vice President of Operations at Hilton, Arabian Peninsula.

Speaking at the Arabian Travel Market 2024, Haitham Mattar, Managing Director, Middle East, Africa and South West Asia, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said slow holidays could be the norm with sustainable travel gaining in popularity.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way generations choose travel, with outdoor adventure now taking the No. 1 spot away from ‘beach, sun and sand’. For the industry to stay afloat in difficult times, the private sector needs to mirror the vision of their respective tourism authorities and work together to ensure appealing spending packages for those markets.”

The hospitality industry responsible for 10% of global emissions, and consumers are now willing to spend up to 31% more on hospitality companies that execute sustainable practices, according to Mattar.

Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East - Marriott International, agreed with Mattar, and said slow holidays could mean destinations closer in geography.

Meanwhile, as part of its sustainable tourism plans, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism- Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has launched a Carbon Calculator. “The Carbon Calculator will support the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative, a national drive aimed at achieving net-zero emissions by 2050,” the department said in a statement.
It will provide a dashboard to hotels to identify energy and water consumption patterns.

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