December 19, 2012
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Muscat, Oman, 19 December 2012 – According to the latest findings of a MasterCard survey, 74% of people residing in Oman are set to travel for leisure in the coming months, a 14% increase from the 2011 results. The survey also shows that 51% of residents plan to increase or maintain their levels of leisure travel when compared to the previous year, which is 10% higher than the 2011 findings.
Participants living in Oman indicated that they are most likely to travel to Asia-Pacific in the coming months, with 81% of them aiming to travel to these markets, marking a 12% increase when compared to 2011. This is followed by Middle East & Africa (46%) and Europe (7%) as the next most popular destinations.
In terms of international destination countries, India and the UAE are leading the pack once more, with 42% of residents in Oman aiming to travel there in the coming months. Malaysia (11%) and Thailand (11%) were also high on the list of destinations for travelers. While Malaysia was also a key destination market in 2011, it has witnessed a drop of 8% in popularity in the latest survey. In terms of domestic travel, respondents living in Oman indicated that Salalah (50%) remains the most popular destination, followed by Sur (15%) and Nizwa (12%).
“It is encouraging to see the increase in the amount of respondents planning to travel as compared to the 2011 survey. This is sure to be positive news for the country’s travel industry as it prepares for the upcoming travel season,” said Safdar Khan, country manager, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, MasterCard Worldwide.
Other Oman highlights:
- Over the last year, 52% of respondents residing in Oman travelled internationally for leisure, while 54% travelled locally for vacation, marking a decrease for both international (13%) and domestic (4%) travel as compared to 2010.
- With regard to business travel, 11% of residents travelled abroad and 13% travelled domestically over the last year. Business travel has decreased since the last survey, when 18% travelled internationally, and 22% travelled locally.
- Among the respondents travelling by airlines, budget carriers were the most popular (54%), followed by national airlines (39%) and international carriers (20%). Interestingly, budget carriers have seen a remarkable increase of 53% in popularity since 2011, when only 1% of respondents travelled on a budget carrier.
- These travelers were most likely to stay at mid-range hotels (35%) during their business travels, more than half (53%) of respondents preferred to stay with friends/relatives when travelling for leisure. Mid-range hotels have witnessed a 5% increase in popularity for business trips since the 2011 survey.
- Travelers residing in Oman enjoy shopping at airports, with 86% of residents indicating that they have purchased items at an airport during their travels in past months. Edible items (48%) and cosmetics/fragrances/personal care (20%) remain popular purchases at airports.
- Residents in Oman are keen to find the best travel deals, and indicated that travel agents (66%) are the most popular outlet to find a bargain. Airline websites (29%) remain popular for bargain-hunters, and some travelers also look for deals in newspapers (9%). Social media (9%) and online travel guides (5%) lag behind when it comes to finding travel deals.
- Not surprisingly, 89% of respondents cite their mobile phone as their must-have travel gadget, while 5% won’t leave home without their laptop. One percent must have their MP3 device with them during their travels.
- Cash emerges as the most popular payment choice for travelers residing in Oman in relation to transportation (87%), expenses under US$ 100 (70%) and accommodation (64%). Debit/ATM cards are the second most popular method of payment for the purchase of products over US$100 (35%), transportation (6%) and purchase of products under US$100 (20%). Credit cards are the least preferred by Oman travelers for almost all categories. It is worth noting that 20% fewer respondents prefer to pay for accommodation with cash as compared to the previous survey conducted a year ago.
Middle East findings:
- Across the Middle East, consumers from Kuwait (82%) top the list when it comes to the percentage of consumers aiming to travel for leisure internationally in the coming months. They are followed by consumers in UAE (79%), Qatar (77%), Oman (52%), KSA (43%), Lebanon (19%) and Egypt (14%). Kuwait’s top ranking this year takes the place of Saudi Arabia’s position in 2011.
- Budget carriers have gained some presence in the Middle East in the last year, with the majority of consumers in Kuwait and Oman and substantial proportions in other markets using this mode of air travel in past months. National airlines were the most used airlines in the other Middle East countries surveyed.
- Purchases at airports remained popular in the region, with around 75% of Middle East air travelers making purchases in the last year. In general, edible items (45%), cosmetics/ fragrance (32%) and cigarettes/ tobacco (21%) are the most popular categories.
The latest survey was conducted between April and June 2012 with respondents aged 18 – 64 in 25 markets. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.
 Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.