UAE emerges among top holiday spots in 2024's travel trends


Ras Al-Khaimah in the UAE is a beautiful city. — MARJAN/Pexels

Despite fluctuating exchange rates and varying levels of affordability, the desire to travel remains stronger than ever, with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ranking 9th among the top trending destinations globally over the last 12 months.

The Mastercard Economics Institute has highlighted a major shift in the travel industry in its latest Travel Trends 2024 report, showing a significant increase in travel spending and strong growth in traveller traffic.

According to Emirates News Agency (WAM), this global report provides comprehensive insights into the evolving landscape of the travel industry across multiple markets.

For UAE travellers, the top three trending destinations this summer are London (England), Athens (Greece), and Paris (France). Globally, Japan tops the trending destinations list for the past year, with Munich (Germany) ranking as the top trending destination for this summer (June to August 2024) due to the UEFA European Football Championship.

Chief economist at Mastercard Economics Institute Natalia Lechmanova said, “The travel sector in the Middle East is incredibly strong and resilient, supported by consumer demand and a desire to discover destinations closer to home while enjoying memorable and authentic experiences.

“It’s great to see travellers extend their stays, which is very positive for the tourism industry at large, as well as for local governments building diversified economies,” said Lechmanova.Shanghai upgrades

Meanwhile, in China, Shanghai’s two airports experienced a significant increase in inbound passengers in the first half of 2024 as the country implemented more visa-free policies to boost inbound tourism, reported Xinhua.

The Pudong and Hongqiao international airports handled over 8.06 million inbound passengers, an increase of 173% compared to the same period a year before, Shanghai Customs said earlier this week.

Pudong airport managed 14.79 million inbound and outbound passengers over the six months, an increase of 1.8 times from a year before, the customs authorities said.

At present, the Pudong airport handles international passenger flights from 118 destinations in 48 countries and regions. More destinations are scheduled to be added this month, including Manchester in Britain, Marseille in France, and Penang in Malaysia.

In the latest move to boost the inbound tourism market, China has extended its visa-free policy to New Zealand, Australia, and Poland.

From July 1 to Dec 31, 2025, citizens of these countries with ordinary passports are allowed to enter and stay in China visa-free for up to 15 days for business, tourism, visiting relatives and friends, and transit. – Bernama/Xinhua

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