Whether it’s for foodie experiences or a visit to the land of nod, global travel site Skyscanner shares the latest trends shaping industry and traveller behaviour in its ‘Travel Trends: Redefining value through experience in 2024’ report.
Blending proprietary flights and hotels data based on millions of searches with an annual consumer behaviour study* and expert commentary, today Skyscanner reveals its top 10 trending destinations, 10 best-value destinations as well as 2024’s hottest travel vibes and emerging traveller types.
Top destinations for UAE travellers in 2024
It’s clear that UAE travellers are craving culture, with many European capital cities trending for 2024. Below are the top 10 trending destinations for UAE travellers with the biggest year-on-year increase in searches.*
- Osaka, Japan: 305%
- Antalya, Türkiye: 273%
- Tokyo, Japan: 250%
- Rome, Italy: 154%
- Berlin, Germany: 96%
- Amsterdam, Netherlands: 62%
- New York, US: 62%
- London, UK: 52%
- Athens, Greece: 47%
- Paris, France: 32%
The destinations offering the most bang for travellers’ bucks
Value for money remains a key factor for UAE travellers, with the cost of the hotel (16%) and flight (32%) being the biggest factors determining the destination. That being said, UAE residents continue to prioritise travel with over half (56%) budgeting to spend more on travel in 2024 compared to 2023, while 31% will spend the same.
Travellers can make their money go even further by opting for destinations that have seen the biggest airfare price drops in 2023 compared to last year. These include: Orlando – United States with a 72% drop, Malé – Maldives with a 58% drop, Rome – Italy with a 52% drop and Munich – Germany with a 47% drop.
Cultural experiences top the agenda in 2024
Skyscanner’s data shows that the way consumers assess the value of a trip in particular will change next year. Although ranked highly, price will no longer be the desisive factor in 2024. UAE travellers now rate the overall ‘vibe’ of a destination as an important factor when choosing where to go on holiday (42%).
This value on experience is powering 4 trending vibes in 2024:
- Destination Zzzz – Sleep tourism is a growing trend in a world that feels busier and harder to switch off from. In the last few years, the number of people searching online for sleep retreats (and asking what they are) has increased and people are becoming more interested in their sleep health. Over 80% of UAE travellers are more mindful of their sleep health today compared to a few years ago. In the report, Skyscanner shares tips from a sleep expert as well as the top three cities for a great night’s kip.
- Main character energy – Film and TV is a popular source of travel inspiration for UAE travellers, with 92% saying they are inspired to take a trip to a destination they’ve seen on the big or small screen. Skyscanner often sees an increase in searches to select destinations whenever a binge-worthy series or movie hits the screens, and has partnered with Netflix to share some of their top shows globally inspiring ‘main character energy’ wanderlust.
- Budget bougie foodies – Food and travel have always been intrinsically linked and just under half (46%) of UAE travellers have booked a destination purely on a specific restaurant they want to visit. While a further 46% say it’s something they’d like to do. Osaka, aptly named the ‘kitchen of Japan’ tops Skyscanner’s list for foodies on a budget in 2024.
- Gig tripping – Attending a gig in your own country is so 2022. Catching your favourite band or artist abroad – now that’s totally 2023 and, even more so, 2024 vibes. A huge 72% of UAE travellers would consider attending a gig or concert abroad in 2024 if it would help them save money.
According to Naomi Hahn, VP of Strategy at Skyscanner: “Skyscanner’s 2024 Travel Trends report highlights a growing emphasis on cultural exploration among travellers for the coming year. We’re witnessing a diverse range of cultural interests in travel, from music enthusiasts embarking on journeys to see their favourite artists to budget-conscious food enthusiasts seeking the finest culinary experiences without breaking the bank. Remarkably, our ‘Everywhere’ search, displaying airfare prices from the most affordable to premium across various airports and global destinations, has become the most sought-after search option for travellers worldwide in the current year.”
What’s more, Skyscanner sees these traveller types emerging in 2024:
- Analogue adventurers – In an age of always-on and constant hype, Gen Z are craving old-school analogue adventures that ditch the digital device in favour of how it used to be done. For example, 26% of UAE 18-to-24-year-olds now bring a Polaroid camera with them on holiday.
- Celebration vacationers – UAE travellers are increasingly looking to celebrate big milestones in style. 72% of UAE travellers have taken a group trip to celebrate a birthday or anniversary, with a further 23% saying it’s something they’d love to do. That being said, when planning a group trip, more than a third of UAE travellers say knowing how or where to communicate can be a challenge. Skyscanner reveals the top destinations for a group trip and has teamed up with WhatsApp to share tips on how to turn those group chat dreams into a group trip reality.
- Luxe-for-less seekers – Skyscanner reveals 37% of UAE travellers plan to upgrade their flight to business or first class in 2024, while 42% plan to purchase airport lounge access to get their trip off to a great start. However, five-star luxury doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. Skyscanner shares some of the best-value five-star stays around the world including Malaysia, Albania and Vietnam.
Famous for its beautiful beaches, Antalya has seen a big rise in popularity, followed by Rome and Berlin. Japan continues to make a comeback after re-opening last year with Osaka and Tokyo featuring in first and third place. Skyscanner also sees long-haul favourite New York trending, too.