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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

UAE travellers happy to share biometric data to avoid lengthy immigration queues

New technologies continue to change the way we travel, with UAE-based travelers also saying they would be lost without their smartphone when on a trip

A woman stands next to a "smart tunnel " at Dubai International Airport's terminal 3 in United Arab Emirates on October 10, 2018. - The Smart tunnel using face recognition tecnology, will check the passengers passports as they walk through it. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)
A woman stands next to a "smart tunnel " at Dubai International Airport's terminal 3 in United Arab Emirates on October 10, 2018. - The Smart tunnel using face recognition tecnology, will check the passengers passports as they walk through it. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP)

Travelers are open to providing biometric data to help reduce waiting times in airport security lines, according to a survey by travel commerce platform Travelport.

The 2018 Global Digital Traveler Research questioned over 16,200 people about the role technology plays for them in booking, planning and experiencing travel. As well as revealing that that the majority of travelers would happily share bio-metric data to avoid lengthy immigration queues, the research also showed a growth in the use of technology when it comes to booking travel plans.

Digital tools ranked high in the planning process, with 76 per cent of UAE-based respondents relying on their smartphones to research upcoming trips. Over half of those questioned also used voice search, a relatively new technology tool, to help make travel plans.

“For those in the global travel industry, providing relevant and timely digital tools is no longer an option, but essential to be able reach and satisfy travelers of the modern age” said Kathryn Wallington, Travelport’s Country Manager for the UAE.

The survey questioned travellers who had taken at least one return flight per year from over 25 countries, including 500 from the UAE who revealed that they used an average of 14 apps in the booking, planning and experiential trip cycle.

Dubai International airport has already taken steps to incorporate future technology, having rolled out a Smart Tunnel that allows selected travelers to use bio-metrics to complete passport control in 15 seconds or less.

The overall online experience ranked high in importance when it comes to selecting an airline, with 70 per cent of UAE-based respondents confirming that digital experiences, like online check-in or access to information on a mobile device, influences their decision-making.

Respondents also cited drawbacks in using some digital tools, with almost half of those questioned mentioning trust concerns or a lack of information clarity when it comes to booking online, and 43 per cent of respondents questioning the credibility of online reviews.

UAE-based respondents also stated that they would be lost without their smartphone when travelling and two thirds of participants admitted to worrying about battery life or failing technology when on a trip.

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