The State of Middle East Outbound Travel 2019

by Meghan Carty + Skift Team - Dec 2019

Skift Research Take

Outbound travel from the Middle East hasn’t garnered the attention of some other outbound markets, but given the high travel expenditure and growth of the region, we think this is one that’s worth paying attention to.

Report Overview

The Middle East region might not be experiencing huge booms in outbound travel like China or India, but this doesn’t mean the region should be overlooked. Outbound travel from the countries in the region has been steadily increasing overall, along with their expenditure which is among the highest in the world per trip. Middle Eastern travelers travel for long periods of time and spend a lot of money. It’s time for the travel industry to start to pay attention to this region.



In this report, we provide a closer look at the Middle East outbound travel market, with a special focus on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. First, we give an overview of the market by the numbers, as they stand today and where they’re heading in the future. Then we examine the key factors that are driving outbound travel from the region. Next, we look at the behaviors and preferences of Middle Eastern consumers and travelers, starting with those that are technology related, and then zooming into travel-specific trends, including booking behaviors, destination preferences, and the impact of religion on travel. Finally, we provide examples of travel brands and destinations around the world that are putting initiatives in place in an effort to attract travelers from the Middle East.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • Market size and expenditures of Middle Eastern outbound travelers, by core market
  • Key factors driving outbound travel from the Middle East
  • Behaviors and preferences related to technology and social media among Middle Easterners that are shaping the way they travel
  • Trends in the travel behavior and preferences of Middle Eastern travelers, from booking preferences to destination preferences
  • How global travel brands and destinations are taking steps to better cater to travelers from this region

Executives Interviewed

  • Joe Naaman - Executive Vice President of Strategy, Twenty31 Consulting Inc.
  • Reem El Shafaki - Senior Associate, Muslim Lifestyle Markets, DinarStandard