Middle East Online Travel Overview Second Edition

Middle East Online Travel Overview Second Edition Published August 2015 Analysts: Mona Faraj, Charuta Fadnis, Colie Hoffman, Jeff Strachan, Shadi Kaddoura, Lorraine Sileo


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Between 2011 and 2014, the Middle East lost an estimated US$4.5 billion in annual travel revenue in the wake of the Arab Spring. In the coming three years however, the affected markets will start to recover. Offline bookings will rebound from their fall and regain a high share. The Middle East travel industry is forecast to rise to $98 billion by 2017, but from $71.8 billion in 2014. Online penetration is expected to catch up to Asia Pacific, and reach 32% by 2017.

Phocuswright's Middle East Online Travel Overview Second Edition provides market sizing and forecasts for the Middle East's total and online leisure/unmanaged business travel markets from 2013 – 2017. The report highlights key trends and developments shaping the region's travel and tourism industry, with insight into the unique dynamics influencing travel growth in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East.

Topics include:

  • Total market and online leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings for 2013 – 2017
  • Segmentation for four major Middle East markets: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt
  • Bookings by major travel product segment – air, hotel and car rental – along with analysis of segment drivers and dynamics
  • Comparison of supplier-branded websites and online travel agencies, including key players, bookings and projected growth rates through 2017
  • Role of traditional travel agencies
  • Analysis of technology, e-commerce and social media adoption

Purchase Phocuswright's Middle East Online Travel Overview Second Edition to gain insight into emerging opportunities in the diverse Middle East travel market.

  • Introduction
  • Key Findings
  • Methodology
  • Market Size and Structure
  • Suppliers
    • Airlines
      • Traditional Airlines
      • Low-Cost Carriers
    • Hotels
    • Car Rental
    • Online Travel Agencies
    • Hybrid/Traditional Travel Agencies
    • Metasearch
  • Technology Trends
    • Mobile Breakthrough?
    • Customer Service: Day or Night
    • Other Trends
    • Online Marketing
  • The United Arab Emirates
    • Overview
    • Hotels in the UAE
  • Saudi Arabia
    • Hotels in Saudi Arabia
  • Qatar
    • Hotels in Qatar
  • Rest of the Middle East
  • Sponsors

To accurately size the Middle East travel market, identify the major trends shaping it, and create detailed forecasts, Phocuswright conducted in-depth interviews with more than 40 travel executives between November 2014 and March 2015. These executives, selected for their key positions in the industry, represented three types of travel companies:

  • Suppliers (airlines, hotels and car rental providers)
  • Intermediaries (online and traditional travel agencies, aggregators, wholesalers and global distribution systems)
  • Technology providers and media sites (metasearch engines, booking engines, channel managers, social networks, review sites, general search engines, travel guides and mobile technology companies)

Interviews and publicly available financial reports are the basis for all financial estimates and projections in Phocuswright's Middle East Online Travel Overview Second Edition. Technology companies provided search-related data and other information that enabled Phocuswright to correlate, cross-check and analyze the sizing of country markets and segments. Where helpful, primary research is supplemented with relevant information from third-party sources, government statistics, web traffic results, economic indicators, general trends and Phocuswright analysis.

The heart of Phocuswright's Middle East Online Travel Overview Second Edition is sizing and analysis of the online and total leisure and unmanaged business travel markets in the Middle East, as well as regional projections through 2017. All data is actual for 2013-2014 and projected for 2015-2017.

In this report, "Middle East" refers to nine countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In light of their size and comparative online maturity - and consequent influence on the region as a whole - Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are considered core markets and therefore are discussed in individual sections. These sections summarize key trends and further explore the hotel segment of each market. The other six countries are collectively referred to as the "rest of the Middle East."

Unless otherwise indicated, all online sales are based on gross bookings - the total transaction value of products sold online in the Middle East - for leisure and unmanaged business travel sites (i.e., consumer-facing websites that sell to individuals, including unmanaged business travelers). They also include sales from non-Middle East travel suppliers that are transacted via Middle East-based OTAs.

Total percentages may not always equal 100% due to rounding. Non-hospitality suppliers' online sales are assigned to the market in which the supplier is headquartered or has the domain (in the case of OTAs). Hospitality suppliers' gross bookings are based on revenues generated by properties in the country's source market. Room revenue for hotels and guesthouse/bed and breakfast (B&B) establishments are included. All currencies are in U.S. dollars (US$) and converted at the average rate for the period they represent. References to the "travel market" are understood to cover the total travel market, and "traditional travel agencies" refers to principally offline travel agencies. Market sizing and projections are based on the local market results of pan-Middle East OTAs, the results of local OTAs, and total gross sales reported by local suppliers. For example, a Booking.com reservation made in Saudi Arabia for a stay in London would be included in the numbers for Saudi Arabia. 

US $1,495 
CA $1,969 • £1,167 • €1,354
FREE for Open Access Subscribers
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