Reopening Travel: The Evolving Attitudes Towards Travel in Saudi Arabia

How attitudes towards travel have evolved since the spread of the Coronavirus.

Like most countries around the world, Saudi Arabia closed its airports in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic to limit the spread of the virus. But given the importance of the travel and tourism industry and its contribution, the authorities decided to slowly remove the travel restrictions imposed, with normal travel planned to resume by early 2021.

Saudi Arabia is also an important tourism source market, and the reopening of travel is welcome news not just domestically, but regionally and globally too. As such, understanding the attitudes of the Kingdom's travelers during this early stage is extremely important.

Using social listening data supported by a quantitative survey, this report looks at how attitudes towards travel have evolved during the last few months. Below is a summary of the key findings:

The Desire To Travel Has Been Steadily Increasing:

People are increasingly expressing their desire to travel again, with many reminiscing about the smallest travel moments such as packing, walking around the airport, and looking outside the airplane window. International travel is what travelers are missing most, with the domestic travel scene failing to meet their expectations.

But The Majority Are Still Not Comfortable Traveling Internationally:

Despite missing traveling, most are still not comfortable traveling abroad. People are mainly worried about a lack of proper implementation of safety measures across the travel journey. The economic impact of Covid-19 also contributes heavily with many not comfortable spending money on travel currently.

Across The Travel Journey, Sentiment Towards Accommodation Is Most Negative:

People worry more about contracting the virus at an airport or on a plane, but as more travelers start sharing their experiences, hotels are being perceived most negatively, with people complaining about low cleaning standards at a time when standards need to be exceeding expectations on the cleanliness front.

Improved Health Situation & Attractive Travel Offers Would Encourage People To Travel Again:

An equal number of people cite health improvement and attractive offers as factors that would make them consider traveling again. Those concerned about health would rather wait until a vaccine is available or a visible slowdown in the spread of the virus is seen, while deal seekers are interested in seeing better offers from airlines and hotels.

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