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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and Egypt remain dominant destinations among Middle East and North Africa travelers in 2024, retaining top spots in international preferences, according to a study. 

Singapore-based travel booking app Wego ranked Egypt as the top destination for tourists from the region between January and April, followed by the Kingdom, with India consistently holding the third spot since 2016. 

Saudi Arabia’s second spot on the wish list is a clear indication of the Kingdom’s progress as a global tourist destination, aligning with its National Tourism Strategy aiming to attract 150 million visitors by 2030. 

“We are excited to see Egypt emerge as the leading destination for travelers in the MENA region during Q1 2024. According to Wego’s data, Egypt stands out as a favored choice among travelers seeking unique cultural experiences and diverse attractions,” said Mamoun Hmedan, chief business officer at Wego. 

He added: “Meanwhile, the United Kingdom retains its position as the preferred European destination for Middle Eastern travelers.” 

Among Middle East destinations, the top three — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and UAE —maintained their positions from 2023. Egypt and the Kingdom, in particular, have consistently held the top two spots since Wego began tracking customer trends over a decade ago. 

The study utilized traveler searches and hotel booking data from its website as the foundation for its findings. 

The report further revealed that the UAE ranked as the fourth favorite destination, followed by Pakistan, Kuwait, and Turkiye. 

Meanwhile, China dropped one spot, reaching the 27th top destination among MENA travelers. 

The UK remains the top European destination from the Middle East, holding the first spot for 10 of the last 11 years, briefly overtaken during the pandemic. Italy has notably surged from fourth to second. 

Italy, a top global tourist spot, consistently ranks in the top ten European destinations for Middle East travelers.   

This year marks Italy’s debut in the top three. Joint investments between Saudi Arabia and Italy in late 2023, along with direct flights by ITA Airways to Riyadh and Jeddah, signify growing ties. 

Countries farther from the Gulf region, such as Morocco, Indonesia, and the US experienced the most decline among top destinations. 

This trend continued in 2024, with Malaysia, the Philippines, and the US dropping out of the global top 10, while Kuwait, Pakistan, and Jordan, which entered the top ten last year, remain preferred destinations for MENA travelers.   

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