Where do UAE travellers want to go? Switzerland is top spot abroad in destination survey

Domestic travel to Dubai and Abu Dhabi remains the most popular choice for UAE residents

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Staycations in the UAE remain popular with Dubai leading a list of the top destinations for UAE residents.

Abu Dhabi came second in the list by YouGov, which ranked the top 10 destinations for UAE consumers using what the global public opinion and data company calls an impression score.

Dubai ranked highest with a score of 65.7, while the UAE capital was right behind with a score of 50.2. Both cities improved on their 2021 impression scores.

Abu Dhabi ranks second in the list of the places that UAE residents hold the highest impression of. Photo: Yas Links

Internationally, the destination that UAE residents hold in the highest regard is Switzerland, which had a score of 31.6.

Famed as much for its natural alpine beauty as it is for its expensive watches and handcrafted chocolate, the country has also eased entry requirements. Travellers from the UAE can now fly to Switzerland without any Covid-19 restrictions such as pre-departure tests, vaccination requirements or passenger locator forms.

Singapore is the second international destination and fourth overall on the list. The Lion City also had the highest change in score, improving 6.3 points since 2021.

Having imposed some of the strictest border rules at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the island nation is slowly reopening to visitors and vaccinated UAE residents can visit from Friday, if they meet eligibility requirements and undergo quarantine.

Canada remains a popular destination with UAE consumers. Photo: Calle Montes / Photononstop / Corbis

Canada — which has just eased Covid-19 testing restrictions for travellers — is the third international country ranked highest by UAE residents. The sprawling nation famed for its craggy coastlines, culture-filled cities and mountain-laden wilderness, scored 28.6.

Holiday hotspot the Maldives also ranked in the top 10.

The idyllic island nation was the fourth-highest ranked foreign destination, and sixth overall. With most islands in the archipelago sticking to a one-isle, one-resort policy, the Indian Ocean destination offers social distancing almost by default.

The Maldives ranked sixth overall, and is the fourth-best international destination according to UAE residents. Photo: Unsplash

Interestingly, there were no US destinations in the top 10, a country that has typically been a popular place for UAE residents to visit.

Top 10 destinations for UAE consumers

  1. Dubai 65.7
  2. Abu Dhabi 50.2
  3. Switzerland 31.6
  4. Singapore 30.9
  5. Canada 28.6
  6. Maldives 27.6
  7. Japan 25.7
  8. UK 23.6
  9. Germany 23.2
  10. South Korea 21.8

The information was published as part of YouGov’s Travel & Tourism: Brand & Destination Rankings 2022, which also ranked Emirates as the number one brand for travellers in the UAE, followed by Etihad Airways.

Updated: February 23, 2022, 8:09 AM