The first half of 2019 saw a spike in airfares on a number of routes from and within the Middle East
Kochi, in the scenic Indian state of Kerala, was among the top three summer travel destinations for Middle Eastern travellers in the first half of 2019, according to a new report.
According to statistics from the Cleartrip-Flyin 2019 H1 & Summer Travel Insights report, Kochi came in third after Cairo and Manila.
Other top summer travel destinations for regional travellers were Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur and London.
The first half of the year also saw a spike in airfare prices from the Middle East to various parts of the world, with fares on the Sharjah-Lucknow route posting the highest hike, at 38 percent.
The Sharjah-Lucknow route was followed by the Dubai-Islamabad sector, which saw an average fare increase of 37 percent and the Dubai-New Delhi sector, which rose an average of 33 percent.
Some routes, however, witnessed price decreases. Riyadh to Dammam flights, for example, fell 25 percent, followed by the Riyadh-Istanbul route (19 percnet) and the Abu Dhabi- Kozhikode route (10 percent).
In terms of average airfare per person, Bahrain topped the list with $297, followed by Dubai and Kuwait at $279. Saudi Arabia saw the lowest average fare per person at $206.
The trend of shorter, more frequent trips by Middle East tourists continued into the first half of 2019, with 32 percent travelling more than once and 15 percent travelling more than twice, the report added.
However, the average trip duration saw an increase to 9 days in the first half of this year, from 8 days during the same time period in 2018.
2019 also saw a major hike in the last minute bookings by travellers from the Middle East, with 63 percent of Saudi travellers booking their tickets within a week of their travel date.
In UAE, the last minute rush for booking was relatively lower, with 31 percent of travellers reporting booking at the last minute during H1.
Tech savvy travellers from the Middle East continued to source competitive offers – mainly coupons and deals – online, with travellers from UAE becoming the largest users of coupons at 32 percent, followed by Bahrain at 27 percent, the report said.