2022 is expected to be a solid year for the travel industry in the United Arab Emirates, registering robust growth, propelled by the first ever mega event held in the Arab world – Expo 2020, from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022. Dubai, the city where the event was held, featured prominently in social media videos.
Whilst the release of pent-up consumer demand has led to exceptional growth in 2022, airlines have struggled to keep pace with the challenges of limited flight capacity and labour shortages. Airlines in the United Arab Emirates in particular, with its almost 90% expatriate population, have undergone a struggle to re-recruit flight attendants and pilots amidst the pandemic-induced “Great Resignation”.
Short-term rentals and budget hotels are growing in the United Arab Emirates amidst a highly concentrated market of luxury and upscale hotels. However, in 2022, luxury and upscale hotels recovered faster than mid-market and budget hotels, partly due to stronger declines in 2020, and partly since they benefited from an injection of Russia’s super-rich in Dubai, as this is one of the few global havens where they are not sanctioned as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Bookings have been driven by strong intra-regional demand, although online intermediaries have lower penetration than would be expected for such a tech-savvy population, because offline travel intermediaries are strongly entrenched, with many consumers in the United Arab Emirates valuing human interaction when booking. In 2022, offline intermediaries have been seen as very valuable, especially as many countries require digital health apps, and consumers are confused by the new and ever-changing travel policies.
Travel in the United Arab Emirates is expected to be hit by inflation and rising prices – both major headwinds to the speed and scale of recovery. The war in Ukraine and its consequence of wealthy Russians holidaying in Dubai has been an unlikely boon to the high-end travel market.
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Travel encompasses several categories including tourism flows, lodging, travel modes, in-destination spending and booking.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Travel research and analysis database.
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