Dubai: India ranks high on the preference of UAE’s foreign travellers, with 25% of them aiming to travel to the country for leisure in the coming year.
According to a survey by MasterCard, nearly two-thirds of UAE’s consumers are set to travel for leisure in the coming months, with the travel destinations skewed towards the Asia Pacific region.
In terms of specific destination countries, India led the pack with 25% of the respondents saying they would travel to the country.
“This is partly reflective of the large Indian expatriate population in the UAE,” the survey said.
It said Malaysia (12%) and Thailand (12%) also scored high in terms of travel preferences of UAE consumers, as did Syria (12%).
The survey also shows that when compared to the previous year, 65% of consumers plan to increase or maintain their levels of leisure travel.
The latest survey was conducted between 15 March and 27 April 2011 with 17,620 respondents.
UAE travel is likely to be skewed heavily towards Asia- Pacific in the second half of 2011 with 63% of the respondents aiming to travel to these markets.
This is followed by Middle East & Africa (38%) and Europe (16%) as the next most popular destinations.
Interestingly, travel to North America is anticipated to be relatively low at 1%.
“Travelling abroad for leisure is an important priority for many consumers in the UAE. This is especially relevant for the coming months, with Eid and Christmas encouraging many families to holiday abroad.
“At the same time, we anticipate the UAE to continue to be a popular destination of choice, both globally and regionally.
“With its attractive variety of retail and hospitality options, we expect GCC consumers in particular to travel to the UAE in high numbers,” Raghu Malhotra, general manager, Middle East, MasterCard Worldwide, said.
UAE consumers hold the highest preference to travel for relaxation purposes (25%), followed by shopping (22%) and sightseeing (18%.