Published on : Wednesday, May 4, 2016
“Planning and booking a holiday is a deeply satisfying task. There’s nothing better than receiving your travel confirmation, because all that’s left is the excitement and anticipation of your impending escape,” said Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director of Wego Middle East, North Africa and India.
“However around 50 percent from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are travelling with their extended family, and planning for these trips can be quite a challenge,” Hmedan added. “Very often the responsibility of arranging the family’s travel plans falls on one person. At Wego, we regularly see large searches for more than four travellers from both countries, with huge surges during major holiday periods such as Ramadan.”
“Examining the data trails on Wego, we find group travel planning correlates with popular family destinations; each providing unique getaways with something for everyone in the family to enjoy. Many of the accommodation options at these destinations also cater to large families, with sofa bed and connecting room options to suit large family groups,” Hmedan continued.
Top 10 family destinations from Saudi Arabia
“By far the largest flight search on Wego occurs during Ramadan, with Istanbul leading most popular as a family destination,” said Hmedan. “During 2015, over 33 percent of Saudi family travellers selected 4 star accommodation, and 40 percent selected the flexibility and luxury of 5 star resorts and hotels”.
“Istanbul has a good selection of property types to suit families and offers a number of family activities and attractions. With a flight time of around 3 hours 30 minutes, it’s a popular family destination throughout the year for Saudis.”
Dubai came in second most popular destination for family travel, and Hmedan said there’s no doubt that the Emirate’s shopping malls, cinemas and theme parks are a huge drawcard.
“Dubai is a great city for families and many will now also align their travel dates with major events hosted more frequently in the Emirate,” he added.
Jakarta is in third place, as the many Indonesians who have been employed and relocated to Saudi return home with their families to visit extended families and friends throughout the year, and also during Ramadan. Likewise with Cairo (in fourth place) with expats returning home for Ramadan, holidays and special occasions.
Coming in fifth most popular family destination, Jeddah is not only the gateway for pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina, the port city also boasts five star resorts on the Red Sea, seafront promenades and other child friendly attractions.
Gaining in popularity is the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, gateway to tropical islands, Penang and the perfect family resort in the Genting Highlands.
“Tabzon and Dammam both offer coastal retreats, fishing and resort escapes, and Casablanca has the beautiful Parc de la Ligue Arabe and fabulous souks,” said Hmedan.
Top 10 family destinations from UAE
“Similarly to Saudi, four and five star hotels are most preferred for family travels, with 32 percent of the UAE’s accommodation choices requesting four star accommodation and 48 percent opting for five star properties,” said Hmedan.
“The city’s Egyptian expats return to Cairo for family holidays giving it number one position for family travel,” he explained. “Istanbul and Jeddah are both easy flight times from Dubai and boast great family holiday experiences. Jordan’s capital of Amman comes in fourth most popular family destination, with lots of shopping and dining experiences, and historical monuments.”
“Bangkok, in fifth place, is very popular with families, both the city itself and as a jumping off point to the holiday islands of Phuket and Koh Samui,” Hmedan continued. “Munich is popular as a shopping destination and to escape the heat in a cooler climate, while Kuala Lumpur is also attractive for shopping, dining and family attractions in the Genting Highlands and island resorts.”
Tbilisi is a pretty and historic city in Georgia, which comes in at number nine, and Kuwait City boasts a number of amusement parks and activities to keep families entertained.
“For destinations and hotels to appeal to this extremely large travel segment, they need to be able to accommodate large groups comfortably,” Hmedan said in conclusion. “Many destinations are appealing to this lucrative market by including a variety of additional options and packages, such as complimentary kids meals, extra beds, activities and group transfers, to entice family travellers.”
“Wego’s travel app for both iOS and Android has gained huge popularity in this region due to its ability to simply and conveniently plan and book travel, for one, two, or a huge family of nine or more.”