UAE’s biggest travel trends of 2024, from sustainability to sleep and set-jetting

Industry experts predict what holidays will look like next year

Getting some sleep while on holiday is high on next year's agenda for travellers from the UAE. Getty Images
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Holiday plans for the new year are starting to take shape and, according to travel experts, 2024 trips may look a little different to your usual two weeks in the sun.

From Emily in Paris envy to the quest for eight hours of interrupted sleep, travellers are looking for something distinctive.

Here are nine of the top travel trends for next year.

Sustainable luxury

Eco-warriors need a holiday, too. Next year, the climate-conscious will be scoping out environmentally friendly excursions steeped in luxury.

The new year will mark a rise in eco-luxe resorts nestled in untouched natural reserves, with sustainability at the heart of every adventure, according to Nour Aridi, chief executive of UAE travel representation company Gulf Reps.

Research by Marriott Bonvoy, meanwhile, found 83 per cent of UAE residents would be happy to pay more for environmentally friendly accommodation, with green travellers pledging to put their money where their mouth is.

Cheap and cheerful

While holiday spending is going up overall, good value for money is high on the agenda for many. Budget will be a factor when planning jaunts, with the cost of hotels and flights the biggest factors that define destination choice for UAE residents, according to Skyscanner's latest report, Travel Trends: Redefining value through experience in 2024.

For budget-conscious travellers, Skyscanner also revealed the biggest airfare price drops for next year will be for Orlando in Florida, Male in the Maldives and the Italian city of Rome.’s Travel Predictions 2024 research also showed that UAE residents are cutting bills by travelling outside of peak season, with 56 per cent planning to take children out of school to make the travel budget go further.

Culinary tourism

How far would you venture for the world’s juiciest burger, crispiest taco or most sumptuous pizza slice? The next street or a neighbouring city or even halfway around the world? An increasing number of hungry travellers are crossing oceans in pursuit of exclusive dining experiences, from lavish 16-course banquets created in Michelin-starred kitchens to indigenous flavours knocked together over open coals.

More than 85 per cent of UAE-based travellers want to try authentic cuisines wherever they go, according to, boosting local economies and instilling a sense of pride in communities in the process.

Foodie travellers also have an appetite for virtual reality and AI as part of their experience, with nearly half seeking immersive, “phygital” culinary experiences, where the food is enhanced with mood-altering lighting, paired fragrances and soundscapes.

Dupe destinations

Why go to Santorini when you can explore Paros at half the cost? The term “dupe destinations” refers to cheaper and less-crowded equivalents to popular holiday hotspots, where you can swerve the unpleasant effects of overtourism while still enjoying the overall vibe of a place.

According to Expedia Group’s Unpack ’24 travel trends guide, flight searches to Paros rocketed 193 per cent this year compared to last, while Liverpool was touted as an alternative to London and Memphis toNashville.

In the UAE, 33 per cent of us are planning a dupe destination getaway in the next three years, according to Marriott Bonvoy, with 34 per cent of Saudi travellers following suit.

Artificial intelligence

Out with the travel agents and in with the robots. The era of AI holiday planning has arrived, with 52 per cent of UAE travellers having used AI to help them plan or research a holiday, according to Marriott Bonvoy., meanwhile, found that 60 per cent of UAE travellers trusted AI to plan every aspect of their trip, compared to 48 per cent of other travellers – and it’s not only limited to tech-savvy Gen Z. The study found that while younger holidaymakers were more likely to turn to AI, baby boomers and the silent generation are hot on their heels, seeking convenient, flexible and easy-to-manage travel.

Sleep tourism

An increasing number of UAE travellers are planning to ditch their travel companions and jump on a plane in pursuit of a solid night's sleep.

About 70 per cent of UAE participants in’s study said uninterrupted sleep will be the main focus of their holiday next year, compared with 58 per cent of all participants from 32 other countries. Additionally, 75 per cent of travellers from the Emirates will use their next holiday as pure “me time”, going solo and leaving their loved ones behind to regroup and prioritise their well-being.

Cultural immersion

Next year, authenticity will be on every serious traveller’s agenda, with journeys that go beyond the all-you-can-eat buffet to create a profound understanding of the world’s diverse cultures.

Almost half (42 per cent) of respondents in the UAE say they now rate the overall “vibe” of a destination as the most important factor when choosing where to go on holiday, according to Skyscanner.

“Travellers will continue to seek meaningful connections with the destinations they visit,” adds Aridi, from Gulf Reps. “Immersive cultural experiences will take centre stage, allowing travellers to engage with local communities, participate in traditional ceremonies and gain insights into local customs.”


Just how immersed are you in your latest TV box set? Enough to book plane tickets and jet off to recreate some of the action? Set-jetting results in movie and TV lovers booking a trip after seeing it on screen, and it’s sticking around for the year.

Following the release of Wednesday on Netflix, Expedia recorded a 150 per cent increase in travel searches for Romania, while Emily in Paris sparked a 200 per cent increase in searches for France’s capital city after its most recent season release.

“Set-jetting is fast becoming a cornerstone of luxury travel,” says Youssef Mouallem, executive vice president – international for Vista, a private aviation group. “From the timeless charm of Italy, which has played host to countless cinematic masterpieces, to White Lotus-inspired trips to Maui and Sicily, set-jetting promises a unique and immersive experience that transcends the confines of the screen.”

Slow travel

One of the fastest-growing trends of next year will be slow travel. Tourists are increasingly looking to take their time, connect with local culture, disconnect from technology and minimise their impact on the environment.

Research from Marriott Bonvoy shows that 82 per cent of UAE travellers have already been on a slow holiday, with a further 82 per cent planning on it in the next three years.

Slow travel encompasses a variety of aspects. Some view it as an opportunity to volunteer, while others see it as a journey without rigid schedules, allowing for spontaneous connections and experiences. Ultimately, it’s about slowing down to savour the journey, ensuring that returning home doesn't leave you in need of a “holiday from your holiday”.

Updated: December 12, 2023, 11:04 AM