December 19, 2012
Doha, Qatar, 19 December 2012 – According to the latest findings of a MasterCard survey, 87% of people residing in Qatar are set to travel for leisure in the coming months, a 7% increase from the 2011 results. The survey also shows that 70% of residents plan to increase or maintain their levels of leisure travel when compared to the previous year, which is 19% higher than the 2011 findings.
The country’s residents indicated that they are most likely to travel within the Middle East and Africa in the coming months, with 79% of respondents aiming to travel to these markets, marking a 17% increase when compared to 2011. This is followed by Asia (57%) as the next most popular destination. Interestingly, 14% more respondents are planning to travel to Asia in 2012 than in 2011.
In terms of international destination countries, the UAE led the pack once more, with 32% of people living in Qatar aiming to travel there in the coming months. India (18%) and Egypt (16%) remained high on the list of destinations for the country’s travelers. In terms of domestic travel, respondents indicated that Al Khor (32%) remains a popular destination, followed by Al Wakrah (17%) and Dukhan (16%).
“Residents in Qatar remain some of the most keen travelers in the Middle East,” said Safdar Khan, country manager, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, MasterCard Worldwide. “While international travel for leisure continues to be popular in the market, we see significant growth in domestic travel this year, showing that residents are eager to explore Qatar’s fast-growing leisure and business offerings.”
Other Qatar highlights:
- Over the last year, 77% of respondents in Qatar travelled internationally for leisure, while 84% travelled locally for vacation, marking a decrease of 1% for international travel and an increase of 63% for domestic travel as compared to 2011.
- With regard to business travel, 28% of residents travelled abroad and 27% travelled domestically over the last year. Business travel has increased since the last survey, when 9% of residents travelled internationally in the previous year, and 4% travelled locally.
- Among the respondents travelling by airlines, national airlines remained the most popular (43%), followed by international (40%) and budget (27 %) carriers. Interestingly, national airlines have seen a drop of 20% in popularity since 2011.
- These travelers were most likely to stay at mid-range hotels (38%) during their business travels, while almost a third (31%) of respondents preferred to stay in economy hotels when travelling for leisure. Mid-range hotels have witnessed a 14% increase in popularity for business trips since the last survey.
- Travelers residing in Qatar enjoy shopping at airports, with 82% of residents indicating that they have purchased items at an airport during their travels in past months.
- Cosmetics/fragrances/personal care (41%) and edible items (38%) remain the most popular purchases at airports.
- Respondents are also keen to find the best travel deals, and indicated that travel agents (63%) are the most popular outlet to find a bargain. Airline websites (55%) remain popular for bargain-hunters, and some travelers also look for deals in newspapers (21%). Social media (15%) and coupon sites/apps (9%) lag behind when it comes to finding travel deals.
- Not surprisingly, 88% of residents cite their mobile phone as their must-have travel gadget, while 8% won’t leave home without their laptop. Three percent must have their MP3 device with them during their travels.
- Cash emerges as the most popular payment choice for travelers residing in Qatar in relation to transportation (76%), expenses under US$ 100 (73%), and accommodation (70%). Debit/ ATM cards are the second most popular method of payment in relation to the purchase of products over US$100 (19%), transportation (16%) and accommodation (15%).
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.
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