GCC e-travel market is projected to grow by 20% during the period 2019-23, well above the conventional travel market
The online travel market in the Gulf region is expected to reach $15 billion by 2023, according to new research.
MENA Research Partners said the growth marks an increase of 140 percent from its current levels.
Annually, the GCC e-travel market is projected to grow by 20 percent during the period 2019-23, well above the conventional travel market which is progressing at 4 percent per year, it added in its report.
Compared to global figures, the online travel market in the region remains untapped. Presently, the online travel sector only accounts for 5 percent of the total GCC travel market compared to the global average of 12 percent.
Anthony Hobeika, CEO at MENA Research Partners, said: “Demographic changes and changes in consumer preferences are largely shaping the upsurge of the e-travel market. The growth in the e-travel sector is expected to come from the larger number of young and tech savvy travellers who embrace the digital ecosystem to plan and book their journeys.
"These travellers have high expectations, demand personalised offers and do extensive online research before purchasing. MRP’s estimate shows millennials at 20 million, accounting for a massive 40 percent of the GCC population, which further indicates a growth in expected demand by this segment.”
The advanced digital infrastructure in the region is another driver for growth and a key catalyst as the region embarks on long-term advancement from its current low e-travel activity base, he added.
Along with high connectivity, smartphone penetration in the GCC stands at more than 75 percent, a number which is among the highest in the world.
The online travel market is expected to become a key component of the overall tourism ecosystem in the GCC due to the shift in the digital landscape. Travel brands are seizing new digital opportunities to engage with their consumers and the rapidly growing young segment of the GCC population, the report added.