Online travel intermediaries saw their revenue drop steeply in 2020 as they, along with the rest of the tourism industry, felt the effects of strict travel restrictions and the low tourist flows. With flights grounded and a nationwide lockdown dampening domestic tourist flows, online travel intermediaries in Saudi Arabia have seen a significant decline in bookings.
Intermediaries’ online sales in Saudi Arabia saw double-digit growth in 2019 with increasing internet penetration rates and consumers using online platforms to search and compare products and prices. While sales have plummeted in 2020 as a result of COVID-19, online bookings are expected to continue to take a greater share of sales, as more consumers favour the ease of access and flexibility such services offer.
Travel intermediaries are expected to shift increasingly to online bookings in Saudi Arabia into the forecast period, as a result of the higher demand for flexibility and on demand access caused by COVID-19. However, this shift was already in motion before the onset of the pandemic, with new technology supporting online bookings.
Travel intermediaries are expected to face a difficult time ahead, with a number of small players likely to be squeezed out of the market. Flexibility in booking will be vital to attract back customers into the forecast period, as the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 makes consumers reluctant to book ahead.
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This report originates from Passport, our Travel Retail research and analysis database.
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