If the global hub of aviation is moving to Middle East, hotel companies like Starwood are moving their headquarters to Dubai for a month to learn about the fast growing region, and countries like Qatar are the world’s fastest growing countries in travel, what do the Arab youth think about the rest of the world? And how will it affect their current, and more importantly, future travel habits as these countries rise from decades of oppression? Where will they travel to and which countries should be looking at marketing strategies to attract them as the high-spending visitors?

Some answers are buried in the fifth annual Asda’a Burson-Marsteller Arab Youth Survey, released in Dubai yesterday. This in-depth survey this year asked the opinion of 3,000 young Arabs in 15 countries across the MENA region.

Among the findings, most instructive are the changing opinions of Arab youth, post Arab-spring, on what they admire in the rest of the region, and the world. Asked to name the country, anywhere in the world, where they would most like to live, Arab youth continue, as in 2012, to cite the UAE as their preference, identified as the top choice among 31% of all those surveyed, followed by France (18%), the United States and Turkey (16%) and Saudi Arabia (14%).

The chart and the answers below have a strong correlation to where Arab tourist travel now, and where the youth would like to travel and live in, in the future.

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And not surprisingly, despite a turbulent imperialist history, France is country most Arab youth admire outside of the region, for the second straight year. Part of it has to do with the common history and language (French) spoken in a large portion of Arab world, the other part has to do with Arabs being the largest immigrant population in France.

 

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United States, surprisingly, has a great reputation among the Arab youth, and possible chance for the U.S. travel industry to start building long term marketing plans, as hopefully the visa restrictions on travelers from the region ease up.

The full survey, embedded below:

Download (PDF, 557KB)