Final Travel Trends Ahead of World Cup Kickoff

The latest travel trends ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

October 13, 2022


We are just over six weeks from the first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar set to start on 21 November. We've been monitoring our travel trends and want to share the latest and greatest as the opening tournament is right around the corner.

UAE the Top Feeder Market for World Cup

United Arab Emirates (UAE) remains the top feeder market with consistent growth month-over-month of 3%, and comprises 17% of all bookings to Qatar over the World Cup period. It is close enough to hop on one of the match day shuttle flights that have been scheduled, to stay in UAE and have a quick commute into Doha. It was recently announced that non-ticket holders for the World Cup will now be able to enter Qatar during the tournament, as long as they have approval from someone with a match ticket. This means that more people will be in Qatar to enjoy the festivities that come with the World Cup, and people located in the immediate region can participate, as well.

Top September Flight Booking Origins for Nov-Dec 2022 Travel

Travel Marketing Tip: Is your hotel fully booked during the World Cup period? If so, that’s great, but you should continue to maintain your digital marketing presence. Now is the time to share the details of your amenities, such as restaurants, pools, or spas, so guests are fully aware of your offerings, and know where they can spend their time when they aren’t cheering on their favourite team.

APAC Catches up to European Booking Levels

In a previous update, we saw that APAC booking levels to the GCC were behind the likes of Europe. However, we’ve recently seen a late-stage dramatic uptick in bookings from APAC, which are up over 17,000% from the beginning of the year. This could be in part a response to the fact that this World Cup, there are a record six teams from the region taking part, including Australia, Japan, and South Korea. We also see the recent easing of travel restrictions from the likes of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, and there is a general increase in outbound travel intent from these countries.

Flight Bookings to Other GCC Countries for Nov-Dec 2022 travel (% difference from Jan 2, 2022)

Travel Marketing Tip: Looking to reach Asian travellers searching for their next adventure? Tap into travel intent data—that is, reaching people who are actively in-market for their next trip. They could be looking for travel to the Middle East, or searching for competitor destinations but haven’t quite decided. There is no smarter way to spend your marketing budget and encourage would-be travellers to book with your brand.

Week of the Beginning of the World Cup is the Most Popular Week to Travel to Qatar 

From when we started tracking flight bookings to Qatar in January, we saw 39% of departures arrive in Qatar during the kickoff week. The vast majority, 80% of those flights booked during kickoff week, were purchased prior to September. 

% Share of Bookings Made in September by Departure Week For Nov - Dec 2022 Travel

Travel Marketing Tip: Attractions and tour operators should already be getting in front of customers and offering up their services and amenities to travellers ahead of their arrival. Be sure to showcase your offerings to those people looking to see the sights and the sounds of the region beyond football.

With only a few weeks before the start of the tournament, reach out to our team now to activate your World Cup marketing campaign.

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