Dubai, UAE, 18 December 2023: Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in MENA (Middle East and North Africa), Wego, the largest online travel marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), revealed the top booking trends for Winter 2023.
This season witnesses families and travellers gearing up for winter trips, either for leisurely vacations or for expat residents to return home. In time for the holiday, Wego has identified several winter travel trends among MENA travellers.
Surge in flight bookings
More MENA travellers are flying this winter compared to last year. This year, Wego found that there’s a 11.37% YoY increase in international flight bookings for the travel period between November 2023 and January 2024.
Wego has also observed that there’s been a steady rise in booking numbers every year since the post-pandemic period of 2021, reflecting a growing appetite for winter travel among MENA travellers.
Top destinations this winter
Cairo stands out as the top destination among MENA residents, followed closely by Jeddah, Dubai, Istanbul, and Kuwait.
Major cities in the South and Southeast Asia also feature on the list, with Manila, Lahore, and Delhi in the top 10. Travel interest in these destinations may represent the homecoming trips for the Filipino, Indian, and Pakistani communities in the region.
Popular flight routes are now cheaper
According to Wego’s data, average flight prices for some popular routes are lower this winter compared to last year.
Flights to Cairo from several GCC countries notably saw some of the steepest price drops, averaging up to 35% cut compared to last year’s winter period. Moreover, these same Cairo routes are now cheaper than during this year’s summer holiday, between 5 to 43.56% decrease, depending on the departure city.
Even compared to pre-pandemic rates, Cairo routes now sport cheaper price tags. For instance, the average ticket price from Riyadh to Cairo in 2023 has dropped by 112.81% compared to the winter period toward the end of 2019. Similarly, the Kuwait – Cairo route shows a decline of 62% compared to the average price before the pandemic.
Other popular destinations such as Istanbul, Lahore, and London have also witnessed average flight price reductions compared to the previous year. For example, flights to Istanbul from Saudi Arabian cities are now cheaper by an average of 31.86% compared to last year.
Manila stood as an exception, where Wego observed up to a 10% YoY increase in flight prices during winter 2023 from various departure points across MENA.