Popular destinations for outbound flights from the GCC include India, Egypt and Philippines
The GCC has seen a surge in inbound flights from Eastern European countries in 2017 compared to 2016, according to figures from travel website Skyscanner, with December being the most popular month for travellers to come to the region.
Bulgaria has witnessed the biggest increase at 68%, followed by Serbia at 43%, Romania at 41%, Slovenia at 30%, Russia at 24% and Poland at 23%.
Other European countries such as and Croatia, Finland, Estonia and Latvia have seen increases of 23%, 17%, 10% and 8% respectively. Azerbaijan, which falls between Europe and Asia, also saw a 19% rise.
Latin American destination Argentina witnessed a whopping 55% rise, while Brazil witnessed a 16% hike.
Africa countries Uganda, Ghana, Egypt and Nigeria saw 29%, 28%, 25% and 15% surges in flights in that order.
Flights from Asian countries Indonesia and Hong Kong climbed 21% and 18% respectively, followed by the Philippines and China at 6% and 5%.
In the Levant, Lebanon saw a 12% increase in flights to the region.
The average stay for Skyscanner customers visiting the GCC is 10 days, with the busiest day for travel in regional airports was June 22, which marked Islamic holiday Eid Al Fitr.
The most popular destinations for outbound flights from the GCC in 2017 were India, Egypt, Philippines, Pakistan, Turkey, UK, UAE, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia in that order.
The busiest day for flight bookings was August 7.
On average, GCC travellers go on holiday for 14 days a year.
Interestingly, the average flight price in 2017 from GCC countries to all destinations dropped 7% to AED1,898 compared to 2016.
As for the most popular GCC departure cities in 2017, they were Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Kuwait, Mecca, Dammam, Bahrain, Sharjah and Oman respectively.
The most popular for inbound travel were Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mecca, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Riyadh, Medina and Sharjah.