Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Thursday 25 April, 2018: The countries that have seen the greatest growth in flight bookings from travelers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the last 12 months are Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, according to analysis conducted by Travelport (NYSE:TVPT), the leading Travel Commerce Platform.  

Fastest-growing destinations for UAE travelers booked through global distribution systems

Destination Vol. Increase % Change
Pakistan 130,654 31%
Nepal  26,334 37%
Bangladesh 18,730 7%
Saudi Arabia 18,506 6%
Ethiopia 16,253 33%
United States 6,544 9%
Egypt 4,962 3%
Morocco 4,914 10%
Iraq 4,661 17%
Nigeria 4,501 23%

From 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019, bookings made* in the UAE through all global distribution systems (GDS) to Pakistan increased by more than 130,000, up 31% on the previous 12 months. Bookings to second placed Nepal rose by over 25,000, up 37%. This follows an increase of 15,000 flight bookings to the country the previous year (1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 vs 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017). Third placed Bangladesh saw flight bookings increase by just over 18,000, up 7%.

Global distribution systems (GDS) are vast hi-tech reservation networks that allow travel agents, travel management companies and large corporations, among others, to search and book airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel related items. Globally in 2018, Travelport alone processed 1 trillion transactions through its platform. The company also delivers mobile services and apps to the travel industry, as well as advanced analytics products such as Travelport Business Intelligence.

Kathryn Wallington, Travelport’s Country Manager for the UAE, said: “Increased airline capacity, economic growth, political stability, and rises in demand from leisure travelers are all major drivers of growth in flight bookings. Most of these factors will have had a role to play in each of the rises we’re looking at here.”

Wallington continued: “Pakistan has seen an uplift in tourism in general in recent years. According to Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, tourism in the country increased three-fold from 2013 to 2017. Furthermore, the World Travel and Tourism Council’s latest forecast was that the sector’s contribution to GDP would rise by nearly 6% in 2018, suggesting it had another strong year. Pakistan has also received more recognition for its tourism offering recently. For example, it was rated as the world’s top travel destination for 2018 by the British Backpacker Society, a story which carried across the globe. Pakistan’s plans to ease visa restrictions this year should mean the upwards trend in tourist numbers continues in 2019. With the recent expansion of Travelport’s partnership with Pakistan International Airlines, we’re delighted to be playing a part in helping the carrier and the country fulfil their international tourism aspirations.”  

The countries in the Middle East and North Africa that experienced the greatest increases in flight bookings from the UAE over the last 12 months were the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia saw an increase of just over 18,000 (+6%) bookings through all GDS, while Egypt and Morocco both recorded rises of nearly 5,000 (+3% and +10% respectively).

Wallington concluded: “Staying on top of evolving traveler demand is critical in the travel and tourism industry. Even basic analysis can allow travel agents to ensure the packages they offer are in line with the latest demand trends and help airlines ensure they have the right capacity planned for their routes. The analysis that can be done today, however, can of course go much deeper and agencies, airlines and others in the industry and becoming increasingly astute at finding the kind of insights that can give them a real competitive advantage.”