Saudi Arabia and Egypt were the most sought-after destinations for international travelers from the Middle East and North Africa in the first quarter of 2023, according to study by a Singapore-based travel app.
Wego, the flight-searching and booking app, placed Egypt as the top destination for tourists from the region between January and March, followed by the Kingdom, and then India.
Saudi Arabia’s second spot in the wish list is a strong indication of the progress made by the Kingdom as a global tourist destination, in line with its National Tourism Strategy that aims to attract 100 million visitors by 2030.
“Our data shows that Egypt remains the top destination of choice for MENA travelers for what the country offers from a mix of history, culture, and adventure for every type of traveler,” said Mamoun Hmedan, managing director of MENA and India, Wego, in a statement.
The study was based on the searches made by travelers as well as hotel-booking figures on its website.
The report further revealed that the UAE ranked as the fourth favorite destination, followed by Kuwait, Turkiye, and Pakistan.
China climbed up six spots quarter-on-quarter to reach the 26th top destination among MENA travelers.
“China will be among the fastest risers in the second quarter of this year as the Asian giant has loosened pandemic-related travel restrictions,” stated the report.
Moreover, several Asian countries lost their rankings as they faced stricter COVID
-19 policies, including Japan and Vietnam, both of which fell by nine spots, the Philippines by eight, Malaysia by seven, and Indonesia and Singapore by four each.
Countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council region with more accommodating travel policies rose up the ranks: Qatar and Oman gained eight spots, while Bahrain climbed five.
The UK held the top rank among European destinations, followed by Germany and Italy.
Saudi Arabia’s tourism strategy aims to increase the contribution of the sector to the gross domestic product in the Kingdom to more than 10 percent, along with creating 1 million additional job opportunities.