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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Thailand, Turkey, the UK, the Maldives, Italy, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, Russia, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam will be the most popular destinations on the list of UAE residents for vacations in 2020, say industry executives.
Emily Williams, head of product at dnata Travel UAE, says Thailand remains a favoured choice, a year-round destination offering city and island life.
"More travellers are spending time in Koh Samui and we predict this will continue in 2020. Turkey's cultural capital, Istanbul, is ever popular, with the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final in May set to drive more traffic this year. London remains a hotspot in the UK, whilst more traction is being witnessed across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to the rugged, epic countryside and vibrant cities," she said.
Moreover, religious tourism to Saudi Arabia, Alps and world-class skiing and alpines resorts in Switzerland, paradise islands of Maldives and vibrant Baku in Azerbaijan will also be among the top of the list for the UAE residents to visit in 2020.
Dnata expects Russia, Vietnam, Japan, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka will also prove popular in 2020 due to major upcoming events there.
"Travel to Russia grew extensively in 2019 and we predict this trend will continue in 2020, with cities outside of its largest and most popular, Moscow and St. Petersburg, including its popular leisure destination for its local travellers - Sochi - gaining traction," she said.
Mamoun Hmedan, managing director for Mena and India at Wego, sees Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and Jordan are top trending destinations for the UAE residents to visit this year.
"Saudi Arabia has been on the rise since last year due to the investments in the entertainment and infrastructure sectors. We have seen a lot of travellers searching for hotel stays and flights in KSA. This trend will continue in 2020," Hmedan said.
He said bookings to Azerbaijan have increased by 155 per cent in the last four months.
In addition, places like the UK, France, Thailand and Austria are samong the top holiday spots for local and regional travellers for 2020.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said there has been year-on-year increase in visitor numbers from the GCC to Ireland, and the UAE specifically has been the fastest growing emerging market for the island of Ireland, witnessing remarkable growth over the past few years.
"Tourism Ireland estimates 75,000 Middle East travellers visited the island of Ireland in 2018, with an anticipated increase in 2019 as we await final visitor statistics," Gibbons said. Ireland now offers visa-free access to Emiratis.
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