Aviasales reports growth in travel from Central Asia to GCC

Aviasales reports growth in travel from Central Asia to GCC

Bookings to MENA region up 45% with UAE taking the lion’s share

Travel search platform Aviasales has revealed growing interest among travellers from Central Asian countries in Middle East and North African (MENA) destinations, with searches up 61% and bookings up 45% in 2023 compared with 2022.

The online agency said the UAE accounted for the greatest share of bookings. 

Searches on Aviasales from Uzbekistan (pictured) for travel to the MENA region rose 83%. Bookings were up 50%, with 86% of these for the UAE.

Searches from Kyrgyzstan were up 146%, with bookings up 72%, of which 87% were for the UAE. 

Aviasales predicts the easing of visa requirements, allowing 30-day visa-free stays in the Gulf countries, will boost visitor numbers further. For example, since February 2024 Uzbek citizens are permitted to visit the UAE without a visa. 

 The company also attributes the increase to improved air links, including the introduction of Jazeera Airways’ service from Kuwait City to Fergana, Uzbekistan, and the doubling of Qatar Airways’ flights between Doha and Almaty, Kazakhstan, in the past year. 

Aviasales chief executive officer Anton Baitsur said: “These figures not only reflect an important trend likely to continue but underlines our key role at Aviasales as the leading online player in Central Asia and fostering these
growing ties.

“We strongly recommend that GCC-based hotels, airlines, tour operators and incoming businesses develop more services aimed at Central Asian audiences and consider focusing sales and marketing efforts on the source market.”