Abi Dhabi: The value of UAE online travel sales in 2018 is predicted to reach Dh17.3 billion, driven by a growing population, an increasing number of tourists and UAE residents’ shift towards digital services, new analysis from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry has revealed.
The analysis, based on recent data from Euromonitor International, found that direct online sales in 2018 are expected to hit Dh9 billion, supported by higher airline sales. Meanwhile, Dh8.3 billion worth of online sales from intermediary companies were accounted for during the same year. Online travel sales through intermediary companies recorded a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.1 per cent between 2013 and 2018, compared to 12.5 per cent CAGR for direct travel online sales over the same period.
The analysis also predicted a faster growth for intermediate travel bookings companies over the next five years, as UAE travellers increasingly turn to online platforms to research, book travel and accommodation, and take advantage of special deals.
In 2018, online mobile travel sales in the UAE are forecast to reach a record Dh2.9 billion, marking a 25 per cent growth rate compared to the previous year. Over the 2013-2018 period, a 34.3 per cent CAGR was seen for UAE mobile travel sales and it is expected that this market will continue to grow at a CAGR of around 16.4 per cent over the next five years, thanks to the availability of high-quality mobile apps, many of which target the Arabic-speaking population.
Leisure tourism accounted for 52 per cent of the intermediaries’ online travel sales in the UAE, with the value of transactions in this category expected to reach Dh4.3 billion by the end of 2018. Air travel dominated sales in this category, claiming 54.7 per cent of total sales transactions, followed by lodging at 22 per cent, holiday packages at 19.5 per cent and other travel online services at 3.8 per cent.
On the other hand, 48 per cent of UAE intermediaries’ travel online sales in 2018 fell into the category of business tourism, accounting for an estimated value of Dh3.9 billion. Air travel made up 55.3 per cent of business travel online sales, followed by lodging at 44.2 per cent, car rental at 0.4 per cent, and others at 0.1 per cent.