Canadian expat Mila Beyrouti is yet to zero in on a destination she wishes to travel to in 2024. However, the prospect of visiting Georgia seems appealing to her. “I have been exploring the option of travelling to Georgia, primarily because it is cost-effective and closer to the UAE,” she said.
Mila is among the 70% of UAE residents looking to reduce their vacation cost by choosing destinations where day-to-day life is cheaper than in their home city or travelling to less far-flung places to avoid the expense of long-haul flights. That is according to a new survey by travel website booking.com.
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The report predicts seven travel trends in 2024 and says that travellers are willing to pay for short-term luxury experiences when arriving at their destination: 62 per cent of UAE-based holidaymakers will pay for a day pass for a five-star resort rather than staying in one.
The website surveyed over 27,000 travellers in 33 countries and has indicated several trends from the UAE as well as globally.
For South African expat Sarah and her family, cost is always the top consideration. “100 per cent, we look at countries that are cheaper than UAE. It makes sense to do that as we will be spending from our savings. We travel back to South Africa once a year and try to do one international trip each year.”
Sarah said her family was looking to travel to a cheaper place in 2024 due to past experiences. “This year, we did Maldives for a week. Even though we checked for the best rates and travelled outside peak travel time, everything was in dollars, so it became quite expensive. The year before, we flew to Turkey, which allowed us to travel for almost three weeks because one gets much more value for the Turkish Lira. We haven’t picked our destination for 2024 yet, but we are considering places such as Uzbekistan or Georgia, which is much cheaper than UAE.”
Seventy-five per cent of UAE travellers opt for cooler climates when they fly out, compared to 56 per cent of all participants in the survey.
It also showed that several UAE residents plan to reduce their holiday bills by taking a vacation outside peak season. Fifty-six per cent plan to take children out of school in 2024 during the academic session to make their travel budget go further.
Residents are also tech savvy, with nearly two-thirds – 60 per cent- trusting artificial intelligence to plan every aspect of their trip, compared to just 48 per cent of all travellers who participated in the research.