GCC Summer Travel Trends Revealed

A survey conducted by leading travel search site and app has revealed top trends for summer travel by GCC residents this year. The survey, which ran for a period of two months on the site’s homepage, questioned over 1,000 respondents on matters including chosen destinations, length of stay, accommodation types and important features when selecting a location.

The results revealed over 75% of respondents are planning to travel, with 37.7% choosing Asia as their destination of choice. 28% chose Europe while 11.7% selected travel within the Middle East (outside of the UAE).

When asked about the duration of their travel, over 42% answered 14+ days while only 4% selected 1-3 days.The most important feature GCC travelers consider when selecting a destination is ‘family friendly’ with 29% of the vote, followed by relaxation at 26%, and cultural experiences at 18%. ‘Adventure’ received the least amount of votes with just 9%.

When asked who they plan to travel with, 35% of respondents said they will be travelling alone and 33% with family. Lastly, over 30% of respondents selected ‘apartment or house’ as their accommodation of choice, versus 24% for boutique hotel and 23% for luxury hotels or resorts.

For those still undecided about where to travel to this summer and to address customer preferences revealed through the survey, Skyscanner has created two new tiles on their app for ‘family friendly destinations’ and ‘summer deals’. These can be found when travelers and click on the “Explore” tab.

According to Skyscanner, here are four family friendly destinations for summer:

1.    Paris, France

Paris has absolutely tons of things for kids to do, from ogling giant whale skeletons at the Museum of Natural History’s Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy Gallery (2 Rue Buffon, open daily 10am to 6pm, entry €7*) to exploring the wonderfully quirky Magic Museum (11 Rue Saint-Paul, open Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 2pm to 7pm, entry €10 for adults and €8 for children), which boasts a collection of more than 100 bizarre mechanical figurines as well as all sorts of curious magic knick knacks. Meanwhile, Parc de la Villette is home to the mother of all playgrounds in the form of the Jardin des Dunes et des Vents, which features giant hamster wheels, a zip line and all sorts of things for kids to clamber over. And then there’s always Disneyland Paris on the outskirts of the city.

Direct flights to Paris from Dubai are 7h10 

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  1. Lisbon, Portugal

Simply getting around in Lisbon can be a fun family activity: the distinctive red trams shunt their way past all of the major historical sights, and a day ticket will let guests hop on and off anywhere they like for 24 hours. But even more fun is a ride on one of the amphibious vehicles operated by Hippotrip. The aquatic bus tours the city’s landmarks before taking a dramatic plunge into the waters of the River Tagus. Up on the hill above Lisbon, the eleventh-century Castelo de São Jorge (open daily 9am to 9pm, entrance €8.50) provides some excellent views over the city. Kids will love trying out the 360-degree camera obscura in the Ulysses Tower (10am to 5pm), and there are several galleries showcasing relics from the castle’s past – including traces of Moorish occupation from 1,000 years ago.

Direct flights to Lisbon from Dubai are 8h10 and start at AED 2,734

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  1. Bali, Indonesia

While parents could easily spend their time on Bali relaxing in one of its famous spas, there are plenty of activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Visitors can get acquainted with some of the island’s most endearing residents at Monkey Forest, or go on a wildlife adventure to see animals from Africa and all over the world at the Bali Safari and Marine Park – don’t miss the nocturnal magic of the Night Safari. Or make some feathered friends at the Bali Bird Park, home to almost 1000 birds of 250 different species. For perhaps the most iconic Balinese experience, catch the sunset over the ocean at Pura Tanah Lot, one of the most sacred temples in Bali.

Direct flights to Bali from Dubai are 9h05 and start at AED 3,435

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  1. Madrid, Spain

Madrid is characterised by intense cultural and artistic activity and boasts museums, galleries and beautiful architecture to feast the eyes on.With numerous parks and food markets, this city is the perfect destination to explore with the whole family.

A walk through El Retiro transports you to the loveliness of eighteenth century palace gardens. Visitors can head for the Crystal Palace and its surroundings, where they can sit by the pond and watch the play of light, shadow and colour, as well as the resident ducks, turtles and birds. For thoselooking for a livelier atmosphere, there are always activities, exhibitions, concerts, puppet shows, street performers and fortune tellers in other areas of the park.

A local favourite to explore is Mercado de San Miguel, an old traditional market converted into a modern gastronomic experience. Themercado’s greatest asset is the food samples that can be tasted from as little as €1, sometimes even for free, before deciding whether to buy. There’s a huge variety of food: cold meat, cheese, fruit, vegetables, sushi, seafood, chocolates, frozen yogurt, juices…all deliciously tasty and fresh. It’s entertainment enough just to walk around enjoying mouth-watering smells and flavours, while natural light floods the building, emphasizing the beauty of its iron and glass structure.

Direct flights to Madrid from Dubai are 7h45 and start at AED 2,751

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