By Shayan Shakeel
India rises to second most frequented destination for Middle East travelers in the second quarter of 2018
Egypt remains the destination of choice for travelers from the Middle East and North Africa region, while the UAE remains in fifth place, according to results derived from flight and hotel flight and hotel search activity over online travel marketplace Wego’s apps and websites during the second quarter of 2018.
Changes in the ranking of the most popular destinations for MENA-based travelers, according to the company’s quarterly MENA Traveller Destination Leaderboards, shows India moved to the second most popular destination for fliers in the region, pushing Saudi Arabia down a spot to number three.
Reasons attributed to the shift include the holy month of Ramadan which began in May this year.
“Many Gulf-based Indian expats who chose to travel to their home country during this period (or immediately afterwards). Similarly, we see that Pakistan jumped two places, to number 9 in the rankings for the same reason,” said managing director of WEGO MENA and India, Mamoun Hmedan.
Indonesia, Jordan, Philippines, and Morocco round out the rest of the top 10, while Lebanon, ranked 11, emerged as this quarter’s biggest gainer in the index, up by four places because of “a combination of GCC-based Lebanese expats travelling home for summer vacations and interest from affluent GCC tourists looking to escape the heat this year,” said Hmedan.
Among other destinations making big moves in the index was Azerbaijan now ranked number 17 and up three spots from the same period last year
The UK at number 14, remained unchanged as the most popular destination opted for in Europe.
However, anti-tourism protests and marches in Spain have significantly dampened the attractiveness of Spain to the Middle Eastern traveller.
They have resulted in a triple downgrading of Spain’s standing in the European destination leaderboard compared to last year.