A large majority of people in Qatar are set to travel for leisure in the next months, a MasterCard survey has found.
According to the latest findings of a MasterCard survey, 87 percent of people residing in Qatar are set to travel for leisure in the coming months, a 7 percent increase from the 2011 results.
The survey also shows that 70 percent of residents plan to increase or maintain their levels of leisure travel when compared to the previous year, which is 19 percent higher than the last year.
The country’s residents indicated that they are most likely to travel within the Middle East and Africa in the coming months, with 79 percent of respondents aiming to travel to these markets, marking a 17 percent increase when compared to 2011. This is followed by Asia (57 percent) as the next most popular destination. Interestingly, 14 percent more respondents are planning to travel to Asia in 2012 than in 2011.
In terms of international destination countries, the UAE led the pack once more, with 32 percent of people in Qatar aiming to travel there in the coming months. India (18 percent) and Egypt (16 percent) remained high on the list of destinations for the country’s travellers. In terms of domestic travel, respondents indicated that Al Khor (32 percent) remains a popular destination, followed by Al Wakra (17 percent) and Dukhan (16 percent).
“Residents in Qatar remain some of the keenest travellers in the Middle East,” said Safdar Khan, market manager, Qatar, Oman and Kuwait, MasterCard Worldwide. “While international travel for leisure continues to be popular in the market, we see significant growth in domestic travel this year, showing that residents are eager to explore Qatar’s fast-growing leisure and business offerings.”
Over the last year, 77 percent of respondents in Qatar travelled internationally for leisure, while 84 percent travelled locally for vacation, marking a decrease of 1 percent for international travel and an increase of 63 percent for domestic travel as compared to 2011.
With regard to business travel, 28 percent of residents travelled abroad and 27 percent travelled domestically over the last year. Business travel has increased since the last survey, when 9 percent of residents travelled internationally in the previous year, and 4 percent travelled locally.
Among the respondents travelling by airlines, national airlines remained the most popular (43 percent), followed by international (40 percent) and budget (27 percent) carriers. Interestingly, national airlines have seen a drop of 20 percent in popularity since 2011.
These travellers were most likely to stay at mid-range hotels (38 percent) during their business travels, while almost a third (31 percent) of respondents preferred to stay in economy hotels when travelling for leisure. Mid-range hotels have witnessed a 14 percent increase in popularity for business trips since the last survey. Travellers residing in Qatar enjoy shopping at airports, with 82 percent of residents indicating that they have purchased items at an airport during their travels in past months.
Cosmetics, fragrances and personal care (41 percent) and edible items (38 percent) remain the most popular purchases at airports.
Respondents are also keen to find the best travel deals, and indicated that travel agents (63 percent) are the most popular outlet to find a bargain. Airline websites (55 percent) remain popular for bargain-hunters, and some travellers also look for deals in newspapers (21 percent). Social media (15 percent) and coupon sites/apps (9 percent) lag behind when it comes to finding travel deals.
Eighty-eight percent of residents cite their mobile phone as their must-have travel gadget, while 8 percent won’t leave home without their laptop. Only three percent must have their MP3 device with them during their travels.
Cash emerges as the most popular payment choice for travellers residing in Qatar in relation to transportation (76 percent), expenses under $100 (73 percent), and accommodation (70 percent). Debit/ATM cards are the second most popular method of payment in relation to the purchase of products over $100 (19 percent), transportation (16 percent) and accommodation (15 percent).
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