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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

UAE benefits from online evolution in Asia

 Wego, the leading travel metasearch site in the Middle East and Asia Pacific is sharing insights into the origin of millions of searches for flights and accommodation to the United Arab Emirates.

Revealed today at the 2013 Arabian Travel Market where Wego is exhibiting, a study of user data trails across all 50 of Wego’s country sites showed significant and universal interest in the UAE originating from over 190 countries.

Reflecting wider trends in economics and supply, the increase is dominated by newer regional online audiences, especially those the Asia Pacific, with the proportion from Europe showing itself as either static or declining within the expanded pool.

Demand from Asia has increased particularly for flights; South Asia accounting for a quarter of the total with growth recorded also across Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, matching the numbers from Jordan or Egypt for online flight bookings. Most noticeably searches from Wego China have lifted to the same level of some of the UAE’s neighbours.

“Travel suppliers and intermediaries from the Gulf states should now be building their brands to cater to new online audiences in these markets, especially the burgeoning middle classes demonstrating greater purchasing power and intent,” explained Mohammed Ibrahim Masri, Managing Director for Wego in the Middle East and North Africa.

Average transaction values in US Dollars: flights booked with Wego, January-April 2013

Australia               $1,314                                      Indonesia             $1,127
China                       $1,003                                      Malaysia               $897
Singapore             $782                                          India                        $397

The recent Emirates and Qantas alliance as well as Etihad Airways and Virgin Australia’s codeshare has helped connect the Pacific and Europe, while boosting major hubs in the UAE, especially for stopover accommodation. The Abu Dhabi based national carrier’s fresh agreement with Air France will bolster this further.

Accommodation choices differ far more widely for the UAE, with Wego’s Asian user communities choosing properties not just on price and the aggregated hotel reviews, but for their popularity with other travellers in-country. More confident in making hotel reservations online as a result, these travellers are now booking every category in the emirates, even holiday rentals and in ever-increasing numbers.

They can compare over 800,000 accommodation options with Wego worldwide, alongside over 600 full service and low cost carriers. Wego searches 700 sites to produce its comprehensive search results.

Mohamad Ibrahim Masri is being joined at Arabian Travel Market by Wego’s senior hotel and airline specialists to meet with more regional suppliers. Wego’s ATM stand (number TT6466) can be found at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. For more information about Wego see www.wego.com/about.