Where UAE families travel to, and why

A quarter of families from the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries travel to resort and beach holiday destinations while 29 per cent travel to meet friends and families, according to a new survey.

The latest Family Travel study released at Arabian Travel Market 2015 showed that other preferred reason for family travel were Eid holiday travel (17 per cent), shopping (15 per cent), nature holidays (14 per cent), city breaks (11 per cent), sightseeing (9 per cent) and religious tourism (9 per cent).

The study was unveiled by YouGov with the findings showing that 64 per cent of the 2,000-plus Mena based survey respondents travelled with their children in the last 12 months, and almost two-thirds (62 per cent) prefer online booking channels.

It revealed that families are taking an average of two trips per year, and that those with younger children (0-12 years) tend to travel more often than those with 13 to 18-year-olds, taking three or more trips annually (32 per cent of surveyed respondents).

“In terms of destinations, the pattern is not drastically different from those travelling without family, with large concentrations of family travellers visiting the UAE and Europe,” said Scott Booth, Research Director & Head of Travel, Tourism and Leisure for YouGov ME.

Recommendations were also crucial factors in the decision-making process with feedback from family/friends the major influencer versus traveller reviews with 50 per cent relying on this for trip planning.

Input from teenagers in the family is also exerting significantly more influence on booking decisions compared to families with 0-12 year olds, highlighting a need for teen-focused marketing and teen-friendly properties.

“Those who are married with or without children are more likely to have visited Egypt or India on their last leisure trip. Those married with children are more likely to have visited UAE on their last trip compared to those married without children,” he added.

Accommodation preferences were topped by four or five-star hotels or friend/family homes (31 per cent) with 29 per cent of survey respondents looking specifically for city centre locations and the availability of family suites/villas most important for parents of 13-18 year olds with 17 per cent choosing to stay in hotel apartments. Reasonable costs were also cited as an important consideration for family groups.

Destination ‘checklists’ were different according to the age group, with families with 0-12 year olds seeking out locations with lots of activities on offer, theme parks and a good attitude to children, while those with older children (13-18 year olds) wanted all-inclusive options, decent flight times and access to shopping.

“We also found that 40 per cent book less than one month in advance and 62 per cent are choosing to book their trips online, although parents with teenagers in the family are still more likely to visit a travel agent,” noted Booth.

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