QATARIS are the highest overseas spenders among Arab travellers, according to a study on the outbound travel habits of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals unveiled during Arabian Travel Market 2012.
The study, entitled ‘The Outbound GCC Travel Market – Unique Trends and Characteristics of GCC Nationals’, was based on interviews with 2,500 GCC nationals from Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Conducted over a one-year period from January to December 2011, the study revealed that Qataris spend the most on travel with an average expenditure of US$4,100 per day, followed by travellers from Saudi Arabia at US$3,360 and the UAE at US$3,280.
The breakdown of spend across all GCC nationalities includes 54 per cent allocated to airfares (across all classes of travel), 18 per cent on accommodation, nine per cent on dining, and five per cent on car rental. Compared to the rest of the world, GCC nationals spend 260 per cent more on airfare and 430 per cent more on accommodation, but 13 per cent less on car rental.
The class of travel is also important, with 40 per cent of Qataris interviewed opting for first class, and between 40 and 60 per cent of all GCC nationals booking business class.
Decision makers differ across the region, with the wife usually picking the destination in Bahrain, Kuwait and the UAE, and the male head of household having the final say in Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
According to the report, 53 per cent of survey respondents plan to embark on leisure trips to between two and five countries over the next 12 months, with Saudi nationals the most frequent travellers, followed by the UAE.
Cultural experiences and family focus are the two most important factors when planning travel, with 40 per cent of respondents looking at taking an extended three to four-week trip over the next 12 months.