Wego’s “Middle East Traveller Destination Leaderboard” Reveals Trending Destinations for Q1 2023

Top 10 Global destinations for MENA travelers
  • Egypt and Saudi Arabia are the top international travel destinations in MENA
  • Egypt has been the top MENA destination for each of the past six months and the annual leader since 2014
  • Biggest climbers among top 20 are Oman (+4 for the 12th spot) and Sudan (+5 for the 20th spot)
  • United Kingdom has been the top European destination for eight months in a row with Italy the biggest climber jumping from #8 to #3

DUBAI, UAE /PRNewswire/ — Wego, the largest online travel marketplace and the number 1 travel App for flight bookings and searches in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), today revealed its regular “Middle East Traveller Destination Leaderboard” that showcases the relative popularity of global destinations with Middle East travellers. Wego users search for tens of millions of trips each quarter and it’s this flight and hotel data that has been analysed to determine the relative destination rankings. The leaderboard announced today covers the first quarter of 2023.

 Top 10 Global destinations for MENA travelers

Global Destination Trends:

Egypt retains its #1 position as the top destination for international travel for MENA travellers in Q1 2023.

“We are excited to share our MENA destination report for this quarter. 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. We also observe that the UK continues to rank as the top European destination out of the Middle East. At Wego, we are proud to connect travelers with the best of the countries, and we look forward to continuing to work with leading partners to promote their unique tourism offerings”, said Mamoun Hmedan, CCO and MD, MENA, and India, Wego.

Rounding up the top three is India. The country is a major source market for foreign talent and labor for the Gulf region and has consistently held the top spots for international air travel. Going as far back as 2014, Egypt has consistently been either #1 or #2 and India has invariably taken the #3 spot since 2016.

As is usually the case, we saw more movements in the bottom half of the top 10 with Kuwait overtaking Turkey for the 5th spot and Jordan moving up two spots to rank 8th overall. The lone rank change among top 5 is due to Turkey losing some of the bargain hunters travel that took place in 2022 with people looking to take advantage of the depreciating lira. As the currency situation became more stable, the country has been gradually sliding back to the sixth spot.

Biggest quarter on quarter riser in the top 50 is China (+6 spots for 26th place) as the country started reopening in Q1 of this year. At the same time, China is also the biggest loser versus pre-Covid days having lost 11 spots.  With further easing of travel largely expected, we project that China will be among the fastest risers in Q2 of this year as well and that it will likely break the top 20.

Top 50 Destinations Globally for Middle East Travellers
Rank Q1’23 Country Δ vs Q4’22 Region Rank Q1’23 Country Δ vs Q4’22 Region
1 Egypt 0 MENA 26 China 6 Asia Pacific
2 Saudi Arabia 0 MENA 27 France -5 Europe & CIS
3 India 0 India Sub 28 Iraq -1 MENA
4 UAE 0 MENA 29 Azerbaijan -6 Europe & CIS
5 Kuwait 1 MENA 30 Japan -2 Asia Pacific
6 Turkey -1 MENA 31 Spain 0 Europe & CIS
7 Pakistan 0 India Sub 32 Georgia -2 Europe & CIS
8 Jordan 2 MENA 33 Nepal 1 India Sub
9 Thailand 0 Asia Pacific 34 Australia 1 Asia Pacific
10 Qatar -2 MENA 35 Iran 3 MENA
11 Morocco 2 MENA 36 Russia -3 Europe & CIS
12 Oman 4 MENA 37 Netherlands -1 Europe & CIS
13 United Kingdom -1 Europe & CIS 38 Sri Lanka -1 India Sub
14 Indonesia -3 Asia Pacific 39 Singapore 0 Asia Pacific
15 United States 0 Americas 40 Austria 1 Europe & CIS
16 Philippines -2 Asia Pacific 41 South Korea 1 Asia Pacific
17 Bahrain 1 MENA 42 Algeria 2 MENA
18 Lebanon 1 MENA 43 Maldives -3 India Sub
19 Bangladesh -2 India Sub 44 Greece 1 Europe & CIS
20 Sudan 5 Africa 45 Syria 2 MENA
21 Malaysia -1 Asia Pacific 46 Switzerland 0 Europe & CIS
22 Germany -1 Europe & CIS 47 Vietnam -4 Asia Pacific
23 Italy 1 Europe & CIS 48 Bosnia 0 Europe & CIS
24 Tunisia 5 MENA 49 Ethiopia 0 Africa
25 Canada 1 Americas 50 Kenya 0 Africa

Destination trends vs pre-COVID:

Compared to pre-COVID, several Asian countries lost positions as they faced stricter COVID policies. These are mostly countries in Asia such as China (-11 spots), Japan & Vietnam (each -9 spots), Philippines (-8 spots), Malaysia (-7 spots) and Indonesia & Singapore (each -4 spots).

On the other end were countries within GCC who had more accommodating social and travel policies during the pandemic and served by short, direct flights: Qatar & Oman each +8 spots, Bahrain +5 spots among others.

Top 50 Destinations Globally for Middle East Travellers
Rank Q1’23 Country Δ vs Q1’19 Region Rank Q1’23 Country Δ vs Q1’19 Region
1 Egypt 0 MENA 26 China -11 Asia Pacific
2 Saudi Arabia 1 MENA 27 France -1 Europe & CIS
3 India