MENA Region Leads Global Growth in Luxury Travel, Reveals Mastercard Affluent Travel Report

MasterCard - Cover of the 2024 Affluent Travel Report (Image:

MasterCard – Cover of the 2024 Affluent Travel Report (Photo: AETOSWire)

MENA Region Leads Global Growth in Luxury Travel, Reveals Mastercard Affluent Travel ReportMENA Region Leads Global Growth in Luxury Travel, Reveals Mastercard Affluent Travel Report
Amna Ajmal speaking at the Arabian Travel Market 2024 (Photo: Amna Ajmal speaking at the Arabian Travel Market 2024 (Photo:

Amna Ajmal speaking at the Arabian Travel Market 2024 (Photo: AETOSWire)

  • The report highlights the role of high-net-worth travelers in boosting the travel and hospitality industry

  • More than a third (38%) of luxury seekers are willing to pay 30-50% more for sustainable travel features1

  • Affluent travelers in the MENA region are heavy users of loyalty programs and membership cards

  • Tourists from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are among the highest spenders, whether they are vacationing within the region or outside it

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, May 7, 2024–(Business wire)–The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has emerged as one of the key regions driving growth in HNWI travel, recording high spending, while also demonstrating an appetite for sustainable eco-luxury and meaningful cultural experiences. MasterCard’s latest report, “Travel of the Rich: A Middle Eastern Perspective,” Released during Arabian Travel Market 2024, it reveals some key trends.

The appetite for new experiences in unexplored destinations, micro-escapes and “leisure” is likely to drive growth in the global luxury travel market, which is expected to grow by 7.9% (CAGR) between 2024 and 2030, according to Grand View Research.2. While the world waits for the first trillionaires to emerge, high-net-worth travelers contribute about 36% of global travel spending, according to a study conducted by Jones Lang LaSalle.3.

“At Mastercard, we are committed to connecting people with their passion for travel. This report provides a fascinating glimpse into how high-net-worth individuals choose to travel, and it is great to see sustainability, cultural immersion and purpose as key considerations. Along with quality accommodation, seamless technology and loyalty benefits, we will continue to harness The power of partnerships with leading industry players to come up with innovative solutions that unlock access to a whole new world of unparalleled travel experiences. Amna Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development EMEA, MasterCard.

According to YouGov research, more than a third (36%) of luxury travelers say they want to experience different cultures4. The combination of work and leisure, or “leisure,” is leading to more remote work trips as digital nomads change the face of travel. Wealthy travelers are almost twice as likely to take a vacation as an extension of a business trip than the global average4. Furthermore, Marriott Bonvoy’s research also showed that solo travel is being embraced, with 70% of respondents in the UAE and 69% in Saudi Arabia saying they have traveled solo.5.

Searching for sustainable credentials and authentic environmental well-being

Affluent consumers are enthusiastic about the conscious travel trend and place great value on the authenticity of eco-luxury experiences. This includes associating with travel brands that support local communities. Globally, one in 10 consumers have stayed in eco-friendly luxury accommodation in the past three years, compared to five in 10 among affluent 18-34 year olds. According to Euromonitor, a whopping 38% of luxury seekers are willing to pay between 30% and 50% more for sustainable travel features such as energy-efficient services. A quarter of them would pay more to find less carbon-intensive modes of transport1.

Meaningful experiences on physical objects

The YouGov report notes that this niche sector is more focused on experiences than physical goods. More than half of affluent travelers, compared to 43% of the global total, prioritize meaningful travel experiences over shopping and souvenirs.4. Nearly a quarter say they would be willing to pay more for a remote destination experience, personalized tours to connect with local culture, and eco-friendly resorts.4.

Personalization, privacy and pampering

Luxury travelers prioritize unique, personalized experiences on location. However, they also want to get their money’s worth in the form of exemplary customer service and pampering. High-quality luxury accommodation is a top priority, with 27% saying they would pay more for villas and chalets in secluded, private locations, while 21% were happy to enjoy luxury stays on a private island.4. Younger, affluent travelers are more likely to pay more for Michelin-starred or unique gourmet experiences. According to Marriott Bonvoy research, light, air, temperature and sound in future hospitality spaces guided by digital concierges will recognize and respond to guests in real-time, based on moods, schedules and health requirements.

High-spending loyalists

Based on the average spend per card by originating market, travelers from GCC countries are among the highest spenders. According to a 2023 MasterCard Economic Institute report, Kuwaiti tourists, for example, spend an average of $3,390 per card in Paris, five times what their American counterparts spend. High net worth individuals are also active users of loyalty programs and membership cards – 34% vs. overall average of 24%6. Exclusive airport lounges, as well as priority check-in and boarding, are among the most widely used perks of loyalty membership, Euromonitor report highlights.1.

With wealth migrating to younger generations, Millennials (ages 30 to 44) now make up the highest percentage of luxury seekers, followed by Generation Z (ages 15 to 29). 1. Within the GCC, Generation7. While most of the world is still catching up to pre-pandemic travel levels, the MENA region is the only region that showed airport arrivals rising by 22% compared to 2019 numbers. According to the World Tourism Barometer, specific destinations such as Qatar contributed (+ 90%) and Saudi Arabia (+56%) in this increase.8.

To read more about the report, please visit here.

Notes to the editor

MasterCard’s report “High-Russian Travel: A Middle East Perspective” was written by White Paper Media Consulting. Sources and data include Mastercard Economics Institute, Marriott Bonvoy, YouGov, Adara and Euromonitor.


  1. Bremner, Carolyn; Roberts, Flor. Meet the new seeker of luxury travel: distinguished, digitally savvy and diverse. Euromonitor. February 14, 2024.

  2. Grand View Research. Luxury travel market size, share and trend analysis report.

  3. Demuth, Zach et al. The evolution of global luxury hospitality. Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). May 15, 2023.

  4. Stewart, Eva. The future of affluent travel will balance luxury, luxury and exclusivity. YouGov. August 14, 2023.

  5. Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott Bonvoy Future Travel Trends for 2024. January 2024.

  6. MasterCard Institute of Economics. Tourism fuels economic diversification in the Gulf countries.

  7. press release. Generation X drives overseas travel in GCC countries according to research, according to ATM. Arab Travel Market. February 6, 2024.

  8. UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. International tourism will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2024. January 19, 2024.

*source: AETOSWire

View source version on Businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20240507531225/en/


MasterCard Communications
Amelia NaiduAmelia.Naidoo@mastercard.com

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