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Travel Transportation in Middle East and Africa

December 2022

The recovery in travel modes sales is proving a gradual one, given the size of the losses seen in 2020, when the pandemic decimated the travel and tourism industry with its lockdowns, border closures and general restrictions on mobility. While there was a strong rebound in 2021, with another dynamic performance seen in 2022, travel modes sales are not currently expected to return to their pre-pandemic levels until 2025 in real value terms.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key findings

Recovery already underway, but it will be a slow process

Travel revenues collapsed in Middle East and Africa in 2020, with COVID-19 and the measures taken to control its spread more than halving transportation value sales in this industry. While recovery started immediately in 2021, despite the continued presence of the virus, and continued at a healthy pace in 2022, it is expected to take some time for sales to return to their 2019 levels, particularly in real value terms.

United Arab Emirates pushing development of eVTOLs

With consumers concerned about their carbon footprint, one way in which airlines could respond is to transition to electric aircraft. The United Arab Emirates is striving to be one of the world leaders in sustainable aviation, including the development of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs). For example, Volocopter, a next-generation manufacturer with its eVTOL aircraft, has plans to be fully operational in Dubai by 2030.

Online sales will soon be more than double offline’s

The pandemic accelerated the shift online – with stores and offices closed during the various lockdowns there was a general lack of offline outbound travel bookings. More consumers were exposed to online platforms for travel sales during such periods. This shift will continue in the coming years, with the convenience of pure online travel intermediaries such as Booking.com and Expedia making it easier than ever to quickly and easily compare prices and make bookings. Although, it should be noted that online sales are much more advanced in air travel in this region than in surface travel.

Sales will return to 2019 levels again in 2025

Travel modes will see their sales finally reach pre-pandemic levels again in 2025 in real value terms, according to current forecasts for 2022-2027. Air travel will continue to be the main revenue generator, although its CAGR will be similar to that of surface travel modes over the forecast period, with rail and bus seeing strong growth, but ferry travel continuing to struggle.

Key findings
Potential for growth in the Middle East and Africa region
Travel modes sales recovering strongly from the 2020 collapse
Despite strong post-2020 growth, most countries still well below pre-pandemic sales levels
Ukrainian visitor numbers to Egypt hit by the Russian invasion in 2022
Airlines still the main travel mode in value sales terms
Full recovery from the pandemic is proving to be a gradual process
Fragmented competitive landscape at a regional level
Saudi Arabian Airlines a strong regional leader
Regional airlines generally generate their highest revenues in their home market
El Al recovers its third position in 2022 as Israeli air travel booms in this year
Pre-pandemic sales levels to be reached again in 2025
Online transaction value growth will continue outpacing the offline performance
Egypt: Market Context
Egypt: Competitive Landscape
Israel: Market Context
Israel: Competitive Landscape
Kenya: Market Context
Kenya: Competitive Landscape
Morocco: Market Context
Morocco: Competitive Landscape
Saudi Arabia: Market Context
Saudi Arabia: Competitive Landscape
South Africa: Market Context
South Africa: Competitive Landscape
United Arab Emirates: Market Context
United Arab Emirates: Competitive Landscape


Travel encompasses several categories including tourism flows, lodging, travel modes, in-destination spending and booking.

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