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Mon 5 May 2008 02:10 PM

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Business travel booms in Middle East

SURVEY: Residents across Gulf increasingly on the move, more than half respondents plan to increase travel.

Residents across the Gulf are increasingly on the move with more than half of the respondents to the ArabianBusiness.com Travel Survey2008planning to increase the amount they intend to travel by air over the next twelve months.

Data from the annual survey revealed that only around one in ten business people intend to travel less by air over the coming year, while 89.42% said they will either travel more or the same amount.

Those residing in Saudi Arabia are the most likely to increase business travel in the next twelve months. Over two thirds (67.44%) of respondents living in the kingdom said they plan more plane flights.

Those respondents residing in Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar were also far more likely to increase air travel over the next 12 months, with 66.67%, 62.5% and 57.14% of respondents respectively planning to fly more often.

Data from the survey indicated that Oman was the only country in which the majority of people residing there intend to travel less by air.

Almost two thirds (62.5%) of respondents from Oman said they plan to travel either less or the same amount by air for business over the coming year, while just 37.5% plan to increase their flight trips.

Nearly one in ten business people residing in the UAE indicated they plan on at least the same amount of air travel. Just under half (49.29%) said they intend to fly more often.

The figures for business travel were strikingly similar to plans for pleasure travel. In total 53.9% of respondents said they would travel more this year, and 35.7% the same amount. Just 10.4% of respondents said they would travel less.

Air travel around the Gulf has become increasingly popular with the introduction of budget carriers such as Air Arabia and Etihad in recent years.

However, budget airlines account for a minority share of traffic in the region, which is dominated by business travel. Over one-third of respondents (37%) have never used a regional budget carrier.

It is one of the world’s largest airline carriers, Dubai–based Emirates Airline, that ranks as the preferred carrier for the region. Emirates was chosen by 37% of the survey's respondents as their airliner of choice.

RELATED: Emirates voted most popular airline

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