Travel intermediaries have been some of the hardest hit by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as many online travel agencies (OTAs) dealt with a huge volume of cancelled trips and requests for refunds. This involved the bookings of both business and leisure travellers in addition to those from expat residents in the United Arab Emirates.
Through the latter part of 2020, many travel intermediaries have begun to focus on domestic tourism and partnering with banks to offer travel benefits and discounts through credit card offers. Domestic tourism is also set to remain a focus into the early part of the forecast period.
It is expected to take several years for demand to return across all categories of online travel sales and intermediaries. Despite this, intermediaries online sales and both online and mobile travel sales to residents are set to record above-average retail value growth at constant 2020 prices over the forecast period, compared to travel intermediaries as a whole.
With the likelihood of strong retail value growth at constant 2020 prices in both mobile and online bookings to residents over the forecast period, travel intermediaries face the strategic imperative of boosting their digital capabilities and maximising their appeal to digital-first tourists. Such consumers are already familiar with using digital and multichannel platforms and apps, not simply for booking accommodation but also to discover local experiences, food outlets and ways to interact with the local culture.
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This report originates from Passport, our Travel Retail research and analysis database.
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