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UAE travellers prefer to pay on mobile phone: Study

UAE travellers prefer making payments via their mobile phone than using cash or credit card, according to a study commissioned by travel technology firm Amadeus.

The global industry study, titled ‘From chaos to collaboration: How transformative technologies will herald a new era in travel’, outlined the way new technologies and social change will transform travel by 2020.

According to the study, factors such as augmented reality, intelligent passenger records, long range biometrics and the rise of the wellbeing agenda will drive change in the next decade and beyond, heralding a new era of industry and global travel collaboration.

32% of UAE respondents surveyed said they found it ‘extremely appealing’ to use their mobile for travel transactions, against 24% globally. Whilst 92% of UAE respondents found mobile payments ‘somewhat appealing’, opposed to 78% among the other countries surveyed.

The study also revealed that 94% of the UAE respondents preferred using visual applications that reflect the physical world on the mobile device. ‘Augmented reality’, which is a virtual view on the real world, is experienced in applications such as games, location apps and business cards.

56% of UAE respondents cited having a strict boundary between work and personal life, while 66% of Emirati respondents stressed the importance of being reachable and available at all times, compared to the total response rate of just 48%.

The report cites high mobile penetration in the UAE as a key reason for travellers’ readiness to use advanced mobile applications and devices at payment points. Industry statistics reveal that the UAE is expected to lead with 100% mobile broadband penetration in 2012, while the mobile market penetration has already crossed the 200% mark.

Humayun Baig, regional market manager for the UAE, Oman and Bahrain at Amadeus, said: “Traveller needs are definitely seeing a dramatic change in the UAE with customers preferring advanced mobile applications and devices to conduct transactions.”

“This reflects evolving changes in consumer lifestyle and travel requirements. The travel sector is also beginning to realise that the world is changing and travellers will increasingly expect intelligent information exchange,” Baig added.

The study included input from industry experts – including technologists, travel industry representatives, social trends experts and futurists – as well as quantitative traveller research in the UAE, Brazil, China, Russia, Spain, the UK and the US. It was developed by foresight and futures consultancy The Futures Company.

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