Saudi Arabia’s online travel sector saw a 536 percent increase in debit card transactions in the first half of 2018, according to a new report from mobile and online travel companies Cleartrip and Flyin.
According to the report, credit card remains the preferred method of payment for online bookings in the kingdom, accounting for 60 percent of the total number of bookings.
However, due to an initiative from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) which allows Mada debit card holders to make transactions online, debit card transactions rose 536 percent and now account for 39 percent of Cleartrip payments in Saudi Arabia.
Generally, air travel was found to have increased in H1 2018, with Kuwait being the fastest growing market with an upswing of 13 percent, while the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman all recorded growth of between 2 and 3 percent compared to the same time period last year.
Additionally, there was a 168 percent increase in mobile transactions in the GCC’s travel sector in H1 2018. Oman was the country with the highest rate of mobile booking penetration (MBP), with 130 percent growth with 35 percent of transactions made on mobile devices.
At the same time, Saudi Arabia saw a 218 percent increase in mobile transactions, equal to 29 percent of all bookings. In the UAE, mobile transactions went up by 66 percent, representing 27 percent of all bookings.
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