Wego Reveals Trending Destinations for International Travel in Q4’2023 

February 6, 2024

  • Wego data showed that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and India remain the top travel destinations in Q4’2023
  • Saudi Arabia has been the top destination for six consecutive months
  • Biggest climbers among top 20 is Oman (#11) and outside top 20, Russia (#21) and China (#23)
  • The United Kingdom has been the top European destination for twenty months in a row.

Dubai, UAE -6 February 2024: Wego, the largest online travel marketplace and the number 1 travel App for flight bookings and searches in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), today revealed the relative popularity of global destinations with Middle East travellers. Wego users search for tens of millions of trips each quarter and it’s this flight and hotel data that has been analysed to determine the relative destination rankings. The leaderboard announced today covers the Q4’2023.

Global Destination Trends
KSA retains its #1 position as the top destination for international travel for MENA travellers in Q4’2023. After taking the spot from Egypt last July, the kingdom has retained the top spot for six consecutive months now.

“We are thrilled to witness Saudi Arabia ascend as the foremost destination for travelers in the MENA region in Q4 of 2023. According to Wego’s data, the Kingdom stands out as a popular choice among travelers seeking a distinctive cultural experience and the opportunity to explore its diverse attractions. As for the preferred European destination, the United Kingdom maintains its dominance as the top choice from the Middle East. At Wego, we take pride in facilitating connections between travelers and the best each country has to offer. We eagerly anticipate sustaining our collaborative efforts with our partners to promote the unique tourism offerings of these countries.” said Mamoun Hmedan, Chief Business Officer, Wego.

Rounding up the top three are Egypt and India. Both countries are major source markets for foreign talent and labor for the Gulf region and have consistently held the top spots for international air travel. Going as far back as 2014, Egypt has consistently been either #1 or #2 and India has invariably taken the #3 spots since 2016.

As is usually the case, we saw more movements in the bottom half of the top 10 where Pakistan has been consistently gaining traction scoring the largest gain of two spots. And after becoming a very popular destination in Q2 and Q3 when a lot of bargain hunters looked to take advantage of the depreciating lira and escape the Summer heat, Turkey has been gradually sliding back to the seventh spot as the currency situation became more stable.

Outside the top 20, Russia and China made big gains jumping +12 and +9 spots reaching 21st and 23rd spot respectively.

Top 50 Destinations Globally for Middle East Travellers
Rank Q4’23 Country Δ vs Q4’22 Region Rank Q4’23 Country Δ vs Q4’22 Region
1 Saudi Arabia 1 MENA 26 Italy -2 Europe & CIS
2 India 1 India Sub 27 Tunisia 2 MENA
3 Egypt -2 MENA 28 Iraq -1 MENA
4 UAE 0 MENA 29 France -7 Europe & CIS
5 Pakistan 2 India Sub 30 Nepal 4 India Sub
6 Kuwait 0 MENA 31 Spain 0 Europe & CIS
7 Turkey -2 MENA 32 Japan -4 Asia Pacific
8 Thailand 1 Asia Pacific 33 Georgia -3 Europe & CIS
9 Jordan 1 MENA 34 Iran 4 MENA
10 United Kingdom 2 Europe & CIS 35 Algeria 9 MENA
11 Philippines 3 Asia Pacific 36 Sri Lanka 1 India Sub
12 Oman 4 MENA 37 Sudan -12 Africa
13 Qatar -5 MENA 38 Singapore 1 Asia Pacific
14 Indonesia -3 Asia Pacific 39 Netherlands -3 Europe & CIS
15 Morocco -2 MENA 40 Vietnam 3 Asia Pacific
16 United States -1 Americas 41 Australia -6 Asia Pacific
17 Bangladesh 0 India Sub 42 Austria -1 Europe & CIS
18 Bahrain 0 MENA 43 Ethiopia 6 Africa
19 Malaysia 1 Asia Pacific 44 South Korea -2 Asia Pacific
20 Lebanon -1 MENA 45 Kenya 5 Africa
21 Russia 12 Europe & CIS 46 Maldives -6 India Sub
22 Azerbaijan 1 Europe & CIS 47 Greece -2 Europe & CIS
23 China 9 Asia Pacific 48 Syria -1 MENA
24 Germany -3 Europe & CIS 49 Nigeria 6 Africa
25 Canada 1 Americas 50 Switzerland -4 Europe & CIS


Regional Rivalries

Middle East Destinations
Among the Middle East destinations, most countries kept their ranks during the fourth quarter of 2023. KSA and Egypt continue to dominate the top two spots with UAE firmly in third.

Turkey and Pakistan have been moving in opposite directions. In mid-2022 & mid-2023, the depreciating lira and a more moderate Summer weather attracted bargain hunters to Turkey en masse. In recent months, as the lira has maintained a more stable exchange rate, travel interest in the country has somewhat cooled down.

Pakistan on the other hand has been gaining ground in recent months helped by additional flights and fewer travel restrictions and is poised to be the firm #4 Middle East destinations for 2024.

European Destinations
The UK has been and continues to be the dominant European destination out of the Middle East occupying the #1 spot for 17 months in a row.  In the past two years, the Kingdom dropped the torch to Georgia in July 2022, and looks poised to continue to dominate in 2024.

The increased travel activity to Russia that began in August continues and in Q4, the country reached #2 spot in the European section.

On the other end of the spectrum is Bosnia and Herzegovina which after reaching as high as #2 European destination in July is back outside of the top 10.  The other Summer-time favourite, Georgia also experienced a seasonal drop back but as #8 remained inside the top 10 European destinations.

Azerbaijan continues to consistently improve its ranking and was the clear #3 in Q4 having overtaken traditional European favourites France in Q2, Germany in Q3, and Italy in Q4.

Asia Pacific Destinations
With East and SouthEast Asia the last regions to relax pandemic restrictions, Q4 saw popular Asian holiday destinations like Thailand and Vietnam regain some positions on an year-over-year basis.  At the same time, except for Vietnam growing through the ranks and Thailand consistently the #1 Asian destination, we see little movement in the relative ranks  on the Asia leaderboard.

Annual Trends (2014-2023)
Looking at a decade worth of travel data, we see regional travel destinations outpace long-haul destinations. With the notable exception of Thailand, all far away destinations Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and USA have dropped out of top 10 while Kuwait, Pakistan, and Jordan are now firmly among the top 10 destinations for MENA travellers.

2022 vs 2023 saw only two changes with UAE overtaking Turkey for the #4 spot and Morocco substituting Philipines at the 10th spot.