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DJEDDAH: Year after year, vacationers in Saudi Arabia prefer to revisit their favorite vacation destinations, and research shows the Saudis are not breaking away from their pre-pandemic patterns anytime soon.

According to a new study from Marriott Bonvoy, the traveler loyalty program encompassing hotels, resorts, house rentals and experiences in 30 brands in 138 countries, 12% of Saudi travelers have visited the same country 10 times or more. In contrast, 30% returned to the same country five or more times before the start of the pandemic last March.

International tourism has always been the preferred way of vacation for many Saudis, with Arab countries leading in many categories.

“I would normally prefer my getaway destination to be familiar and comfortable, a place I can call my home away from home. I like to walk down the street to a cafe that knows my order and walk a path along a river that I have memorized, ”said Abrar Abulfaraj, 29, from Jeddah.

The usual nature of Saudi travelers shows that even after the pandemic, only 21% of those traveling abroad would opt to explore a new vacation spot.

Abulfaraj added: “It is only because of the pandemic that I have become adamant about visiting new destinations, (having) new adventures and enjoying more the luxury of traveling abroad as soon as the coast is clear. . “

It should be noted that the current health measures still exercised around the world to manage the pandemic also contribute to the decisions of Saudi travelers.

While the following countries have always been a must-see, there are many things that go into deciding on a foreign trip, including accommodation, cuisine, language, itinerary, currency exchange, and the weather guaranteed.

In 2021, 84% have expressed their intention to go on a trip in the next 12 months, compared to 8% who plan not to, and the remaining 8% are still on the fence.

Post-pandemic statistics show Egypt will be the # 1 getaway destination, with 33% of travelers planning to visit the country.

I would normally prefer my getaway destination to be familiar and comfortable, somewhere that I can call my second home. I like to walk down the street to a cafe that knows my order and hike a trail along a river that I have memorized.

Abrar Abulfaraj

Noha Yousef, a private sector worker in Riyadh, told Arab News that catching a plane and going to her favorite destinations rekindled her sense of adventure.

“My family has been visiting Cairo for as long as I can remember and it is always the first stop to any destination. Whether it’s Europe or the US, even Bali once, Cairo is where I go first and visit it at least twice a year, ”Yousef said.

“We’re creatures of habit and once you find something or a comfortable place you keep coming back to it because that’s where you have fun most of the time when you’re away. Cairo has always been a place of adventure for me, there is always something new to experience.

“Whether you are strolling through the alleys of the old town or zigzagging the double-parked side roads in the heart of the city, towards the very latest attraction, there is always something to do and you just can’t. beat Egyptian hospitality. “

The second most popular travel destination for Saudi travelers is the United Arab Emirates, with 29% planning to go there for a well-deserved break.

The UAE’s language, food, and proximity to Saudi Arabia make it an ideal vacation choice.

Further away, the favorites are the Maldives and Austria, respectively, with 15% and 12% of Saudi travelers considering them for their next trip.

As some embark on adventurous journeys and immerse themselves in new cultures and experiences, research shows that most Saudis traveling abroad opt for familiar and previously visited vacation destinations.

Neal Jones, Director of Sales and Marketing for Marriott International, said: “We know there is pent-up demand for travel and this research demonstrates the impact the pandemic continues to have on global travel trends.

“The numbers suggest that post-pandemic Saudi vacationers are looking for tried and trusted destinations where they know exactly what to expect – so they can make the most of a long-awaited vacation abroad and avoid any surprises after 18 years. months of turmoil and uncertainty.


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