The untapped potential of online travel in the Middle East

Juan Giron

Global Corporate Communication Manager, Amadeus

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Today’s travelers expect an intuitive booking experience that they can manage themselves on their mobile or other digital platforms. Local online travel companies are redesigning their businesses and are innovating to service this new traveler with a tailor-made multi-device experience from pre-trip inspiration through to post-trip reflection.

Against this backdrop, Amadeus has co-sponsored the latest Middle East Travel Online Overview conducted by Phocuswright. This report sheds light on the trends that will shape the US $78 billion industry in the region for years to come. 

Antoine Medawar, SVP Retail MEA & MD Middle East & Africa, Amadeus, explains why this report is important for the industry.

The evolution of the online travel market goes hand-in-hand with the growth of internet penetration, disposable income in emerging markets, and access to hassle-free comparison of travel alternatives online. Online travel, both through mobile and desktop booking, has huge potential in the Middle East.

Currently 67% of travel is booked offline, but online penetration is expected to climb from 33% in 2018 up to 44% in 2022. Currently, the United Arab Emirates leads in volume of bookings with 49%.

Raquel López, Senior Consultant at Insight Out Consultancy, and Phocuswright's Middle East analyst, highlights some of the trends identified for online travel companies in the region.

As the leader in travel technology, Amadeus supports online travel companies in servicing their customers from the beginning to the end of the journey by equipping them with the advanced solutions that they need to provide unrivalled experiences in this increasingly digital world.

Thierry Dongier, Director Online Travel, MEA, Amadeus, comments why the customer experience is key to sustainable growth of online travel in the region.

At this year’s ATM, Amadeus also showcased our evolution to become a Live Travel Space where all players can connect and collaborate to address the requirements of travelers and provide them with a wide range of options at any given moment. The Live Travel Space consists of the biggest network of travel sellers including retail travel agencies, online travel companies, business travel agencies, and corporations.

Ernesto Sánchez Beaumont, Director, MEA Partner Markets & Retail, Commercial Operations, Amadeus, outlines the value of this approach.


Traveler Experience, Middle East, PhoCusWright, Research