The Philippines is one of the markets benefiting from Muslim travel at the end of Ramadan.

Data provided by ForwardKeys showed that the tradition of traveling at the end of Ramadan has seen a significant revival this year. Citing data as of April 13, flight bookings from the Middle East for trips spanning the last 10 days of the festival, from April 22 to May 2, “reached 64% or pre-pandemic levels”, which equates to a 220% jump in travel over the same period last year.

Flight bookings to the Philippines by vacationers from the Middle East are up 155% compared to the same period last year, although this is still 21% behind the same period in 2019.

The increase in flight bookings this year has placed the Philippines sixth among the top 8 destinations for travelers from the Middle East at the end of Ramadan, tied with Turkey. They come after other “remarkable” destinations such as the Maldives, with flight bookings up 178% compared to 2019; followed by France, up 2%; Pakistan, down 2% from 2019; Bangladesh and the United Kingdom, down 3%; and the United Arab Emirates, down 12%.

Thailand and Spain rounded the rest of the top destinations to 24% and 26% below their 2019 levels.

In a press release, Olivier Ponti, Vice President of ForwardKeys Insights, ForwardKeys said: “As Covid-19 travel restrictions are removed, the world is starting to travel again; and this trend is well demonstrated by the return to traditional travel at the end of Ramadan”.

He added: “Throughout the pandemic, the Maldives has been exceptionally successful in attracting visitors and the reputation it has built is obviously paying off, especially in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which together account for 83 % of arrivals from the Middle East. East.”

Recovery of outbound markets

According to ForwardKeys, Bahrain’s outbound market is expected to recover the strongest during end-of-Ramadan travel, with booked departures up a significant 90% from 2019 levels. It was followed by Jordan, at 86%. ; the United Arab Emirates, 84%; Qatar, 75%; and Kuwait 68%.

“A closer analysis of outbound markets reveals that a major feature is the return of expatriate workers to their homes. For example, the main destinations from the United Arab Emirates are Pakistan and India and from Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, India and Bangladesh,” Ponti said.

At the 21st World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit in Manila, ForwardKeys data showed the Philippines leading the recovery in inbound travel to Southeast Asia, with flight bookings in 29% increase in April. (See “Hot summer fun in PHL as flight bookings rise”, in BusinessMirror, April 27, 2022.)

A knowledge partner of WTTC, ForwardKeys publishes air movement reports based on ticketing data spanning the globe, from online bookings to travel agencies and airlines.

The Philippines is trying to get a slice of the halal tourism market pie by offering Middle Eastern travelers sun and beach activities as well as world-class shopping opportunities.

Its regular participation in the annual Arab Travel Market has shown strong interest from Middle Eastern travelers in Boracay, El Nido and Baguio. However, the lack of Arabic-speaking tour guides in the country may prove to be a hindrance in attracting more tourists from the so-called Gulf Coast countries.