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Wego reveals top trending destinations for international travel in 2024 

Hurghada, Egypt
Hurghada, Egypt

Wego data showed that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India and UAE remain the top travel destinations in 2024.

DUBAI, UAE – Wego, the online travel marketplace and travel app for flight bookings and searches in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), revealed the relative popularity of global destinations with Middle East travelers. Wego users search for tens of millions of trips each quarter and it’s this flight and hotel data that has been analyzed to determine the relative destination rankings. The leaderboard announced today covers the first four months of 2024.

Global Destination Trends

Egypt and KSA retain their respective #1 and #2 positions as the top destination for international travel for MENA travelers in 2024.

“We are excited to see Egypt emerge as the leading destination for travelers in the MENA region during Q1 2024. According to Wego’s data, Egypt stands out as a favored choice among travelers seeking unique cultural experiences and diverse attractions. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom retains its position as the preferred European destination for Middle Eastern travelers. At Wego, we are committed to facilitating connections between travelers and the finest experiences each country has to offer. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with partners to showcase the distinct tourism offerings of these destinations,” stated Mamoun Hmedan, Chief Business Officer at Wego.

Rounding up the top three are Egypt and India. Both countries are major source markets for foreign talent and labor for the Gulf region and have 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 spots since 2016.

As is usually the case, we saw more movements in the bottom half of the top 10 where Pakistan has been consistently gaining traction scoring the largest gain of two spots.

Outside the top 20, Russia jumped +9 spots reaching 26th spot globally and #5 in Europe & CIS.

Wego chart

Regional Rivalries – Middle East Destinations

Among the Middle East destinations, the top three- Egypt, KSA, UAE kept their places from 2023. Egypt and KSA in particular have inevitably been top two destinations since Wego started tracking customer trends more than a decade ago.

Jumping two places to make it to the top 4 this year is Pakistan having overtaken Kuwait and Turkey. While the Turkish lira has been gradually depreciating making the country a great destination for bargain tourism, we haven’t quite seen a sudden devaluation of the kind we observed in June 2023 and late 2021 that resulted in a surge of inbound tourism in ‘22 and ‘23.  At the same time, the country continues to be a great refuge of the summer heat and we expect it to rise through ranks once again as temperatures start to rise.

Pakistan on the other hand continues to gain ground helped by the improved connectivity with the Middle East combined along with cheaper airfares. In 2024, we saw Pakistan-based low-cost carrier Fly Jinnah start flights to Sharjah and Muscat and Pakistan’s national carrier PIA began flights between Dubai and Skardu.

Other notable movements in the top ten include Qatar and Oman gaining a spot each and moving to #8 and #9 respectively. We saw Qatar enter the top ten for the first time in 2022, the year of the world cup, yet despite the one-time nature of the event, the country has been able to build upon and further grow through the ranks in ‘23 and ‘24 YTD.

European Destinations

The UK has been and continues to be the dominant European destination out of the Middle East occupying the #1 spot for 10 of the last 11 years only dropping the torch during the pandemic. Behind the Kingdom, we see a lot more fluidity with Italy rapidly gaining ground surging from #4 last year to #2 this year.

While Italy is among the most popular tourist countries in the world and has continuously been among the top ten European destinations for Middle East travelers, 2024 is the first year that we see the country crack the top three. In late 2023, we saw a flurry of joint investments between KSA and Italy being announced, shortly followed up by Italian carrier ITA Airways announcing direct flights to Riyadh and Jeddah.

On the other end of the spectrum, 2024 saw a relative decrease in popularity among a host of Eastern European countries- Azerbaijan dropped a spot to Italy to get to #3, Georgia dropped two spots for #6 and Bosnia & Herzegovina lost a spot to round up the top ten, narrowly edging out Netherlands who ended up #11. In the aftermath of COVID, these countries benefited from their proximity to the middle east and more relaxed travel policies with Georgia even overtaking UK for the top spot and Azerbaijan reaching as high as #2. In 2024, we are seeing some of the larger Western European markets gain back some of that share. It’s important to note that while Georgia, Azerbaijan and Bosnia & Herzegovina all lost places in the European destinations’ rankings, all three countries gained positions on the global ranking as European destinations overall gained traction over non-European destinations.

Asia Pacific Destinations

This year we see the top seven Asia Pacific countries keep their ranks with the only change in top ten being Vietnam moving up a spot to overtake South Korea. While Thailand and Indonesia kept their respective #1 and #2 positions, we are seeing Thailand expanding its lead and cementing its top position while Indonesia barely held onto the second spot, narrowly outpacing the Philippines. 2024 marks the third year in a row where Thailand takes the top spot when the pre-COVID perennial top Asian destination, Indonesia, is now trying to avoid falling to #3 spot.

Annual Trends (2023 vs 2024)

Looking at the destinations across the globe, we see a continuation of a general trend from 2023 where closer, regional destinations are gaining positions over more faraway destinations. Among the top destinations, it was countries that are more geographically distanced from the Gulf region such as Morocco, Indonesia, and the US who lost the most spots. Last year, we saw Malaysia, Philippines and USA drop out of the global top 10 a trend that has continued in 2024 as well while Kuwait, Pakistan, and Jordan, who broke into the top ten last year continue to be among the topmost preferred destinations for MENA travelers.

In 2024, we saw Qatar break into the top ten for the first time taking the place of Morocco which dropped two notches down to #12.

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.