Visa has recently shared the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-related findings of its comprehensive look at global travel and tourism trends at the Arabian Travel Market 2018.
Visa’s Global Travel Intentions (GTI) Study highlights various parts of the travelers’ journey and found that 97 percent of travelers from the United Arab Emirates rely heavily on online sources at every stage of travel planning and while overseas. It was followed by travelers from Saudi Arabia at 93 percent and Kuwait at 85 percent.
The study also uncovered certain aspects of travel that can lead to anxiety and stress, including getting, carrying and exchanging cash.
“Technology is integral at every stage of the modern GCC travelers’ journey, from planning through to the destination and returning home,” said Marcello Baricordi, General Manager for Middle East and North Africa (MENA), Visa.
“It is vital for the travel industry to understand how travelers gather information and make decisions. The increasing use of online tools means we should be using these platforms to connect with our consumers at every step of their journey.”
The study also found that technology is helping some travelers navigate their destinations better. While 88 percent of travelers gained online access while abroad, more GCC travelers use a mobile device to access the Internet during their trip (97 percent from UAE; 93 percent from KSA and 95 percent from Kuwait).
Almost half (44 percent) of travelers globally use ride-sharing apps to get around once they are on the ground. Travelers from the UAE sharply exceed this figure, with 71 percent of travelers from the UAE using ride-sharing apps at their travel destinations.
In contrast, travelers from Kuwait and KSA rarely use ride-sharing apps while traveling, with only 11 percent of KSA travelers and six percent of Kuwait travelers using these apps.
Furthermore, Visa found that digital payment is becoming more relevant because travelers want a reliable, secure and convenient experience, without the worry of carrying cash. “Visa’s cashless solutions offer travelers the freedom of acceptance at more than 46 million merchant locations worldwide, the peace of mind of being protected by Visa’s global, secure network – backed by multiple layers of security, and the added benefit of a competitive exchange rate when they pay in local currency. As more people travel internationally in 2018, we look forward to helping travelers make the most of their trips.”