The 2019 Feast of Sacrifice holiday, also known as Eid al-Adha, is set to see a boom in outbound travel from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
Currently, forward bookings for this year’s holiday period from July 30 to August 12 are 10 per cent ahead of last year’s holiday period from August 8 to 21, according to a report from ForwardKeys, which analyses over 17 million flight bookings a day.
As a result of this outbound boom, countries in the Southeast-Asia region; namely, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, are also set to reap the growth benefits from this major source market.
The top 10 destinations in order of size are: Turkey, Egypt, India, the UK, the UAE, Thailand, Germany, Pakistan, France and Lebanon.
When it comes to destination market growth, the US heads the list, with bookings for the holiday period this year (July 30 to August 12) 35.7 per cent ahead of the holiday period last year (August 8 to 25). It is followed by Indonesia, 32.4 per cent ahead; Lebanon, 29.2 per cent ahead; Spain, 27.5 per cent ahead; Malaysia, 27.4 per cent ahead; Italy, 23.9 per cent ahead; Azerbaijan, 23.5 per cent ahead; Germany, 22.9 per cent ahead; Thailand 21.1 per cent ahead and Jordan 19.8 per cent ahead.
As for origin market growth, the UAE heads the list, with outbound bookings for the holiday period this year 19.7 per cent ahead of the holiday period last year. It is followed by Qatar, 14.6 per cent ahead; Kuwait, 13.9 per cent ahead; Bahrain, 4.7 per cent ahead and Saudi Arabia, 4.4 per cent ahead. Outbound bookings from Oman were 7.2 per cent behind.
Luis Millan, market research manager, ForwardKeys, said: “This is a real good news story. With the exception of Oman, all the major outbound markets are showing healthy growth and the same is true for the destinations. The one exception is India. It has suffered from the collapse of Jet Airways; however, various LCCs have increased their seating capacity to meet the likely additional demand.”