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Travel and hospitality news from the Middle East. All the important stories, exclusive interviews, plus authoritative opinion and analysis

Marriott's W Hotel in Lake Village, part of Saudi Arabia's Neom giga-project, will have 236 rooms, including 47 suites

Marriott to open two luxury hotels in Neom’s Trojena

Global hotel chain Marriott International will open two luxury properties in Trojena, a year-round mountain destination in the $500 million Neom development. The deal with the US hotelier includes Saudi Arabia’s first W Hotel and a JW Marriott property. “We are excited to work with Neom to develop these two properties in one of the […]

RAK film tourism

Lights, camera, action: RAK seeks leading role in film tourism

The UAE is no stranger to the silver screen, whether it be Tom Cruise dangling perilously from Dubai’s Burj Khalifa in Mission Impossible blockbuster Ghost Protocol, or Vin Diesel powering his $3 million supercar from one Etihad Tower in Abu Dhabi to the next in the seventh iteration of the Fast and Furious franchise. Ras […]

Dubai luxury hotel tourism

Dubai and Qatar expand luxury hotel portfolios

Thousands of luxury hotel rooms are set to open in Dubai and Qatar over the next few years as the hospitality sector bounces back from the pandemic. In Dubai, about 9,200 hotel rooms will be completed by the end of 2023, according to real estate consultancy Knight Frank. More than two-thirds of the supply will […]

The General Authority of Civil Aviation says passenger protections are vital for a robust aviation sector

Saudi airlines issue $15m refunds to passengers

Refunds of SAR58 million ($15.5 million) for flight cancellations, delays and loss of luggage have been issued by Saudi airlines over the past two years, it was revealed on Monday. The figures were announced by the General Authority of Civil Aviation (Gaca). Enhanced passenger rights protection regulations, which come into force in November, will result […]

Lebanese economic activity relies a lot on tourism

Economic activity in Lebanon remains sluggish

Lebanon’s economic activity appears to have contracted in August following a summer business lull according to a purchasing managers’ index published on Tuesday.  The PMI is a monthly report based on survey responses from businesses regarding five subdivided performance indicators including new orders, output and employment. The report, compiled by BLOMInvest Bank and the ratings […]

Qatar Tourism bedouin camp

Qatar exceeds 2022 tourism figures in just eight months

The number of tourists in Qatar this year has exceeded the figure for the whole of 2022, with officials saying that hosting the Fifa World Cup has put the Gulf state on the map. Qatar Tourism data revealed that the country has welcomed more than 2.5 million visitors as of the last week in August. […]

Bicester Village

Middle East shoppers surge at UK’s Bicester Village

Travelling on the train to Bicester Village, do not be surprised if you hear announcements in Arabic as you approach the British designer outlet retail destination an hour from London.  This is just one example of the steps Bicester Village’s parent company Value Retail has taken in recent years to attract more Middle East shoppers.  The […]

The government wants farm owners to develop and promote agri-tourism experiences

Farmhouses the latest draw for Abu Dhabi’s tourists

Abu Dhabi is turning to farmhouses to add diversity to its tourism as the emirate aims to attract more than 24 million visitors in 2023. Authorities in the UAE capital are set to introduce a comprehensive policy framework to license and promote farmhouse tourism activity, with farm owners encouraged to develop and promote Emirati-led agri-tourism […]

Egypt's Soul Luxury Beach Resort spans 20km of waterfront and the phase one construction time frame is three years

Builder picked for luxury resort as Egypt tourism rebounds

A construction contract has been awarded to build the first phase of the $1.7 billion Soul Luxury Beach Resort on Egypt’s north coast.  Eagle Hills Properties, based in Abu Dhabi, has signed a $62 million contract with Egyptian company Orascom Construction. It described the deal as a “significant milestone” in the development of the resort, […]

Kuwait airport

Kuwait airport passenger numbers flying higher

Passenger traffic through Kuwait International Airport is forecast to grow by 7 percent this year, fuelled by increased activity across the summer months. Total passenger numbers to and from the airport is expected to reach 15.5 million, according to the Gulf state’s Directorate General of Aviation, up from 14.46 million passengers reported in 2022. Abdullah […]

Foreign tourist arrivals in Turkey surge 16% to 27m

Foreign arrivals in Turkey surged 16.22 percent year on year in the first seven months of 2023, the culture and tourism ministry data showed. The country received 26.76 million foreign tourists between January and July, compared to 23.03 million a year ago. In July, 7.14 million visitors arrived in Turkey, up of 7.25 percent year […]

Holiday Swap Dubai

Dubai lures UK travel firm as Saudi rivalry intensifies

Holiday Swap, a UK travel tech company that allows people to find holiday accommodation by swapping homes, is to establish its headquarters in Dubai.  Its new office will be located in Dubai Internet City. It aims to support 500 jobs there within two years. The vacation exchange and booking platform has more than one million […]

Neom has appointed JLS Yachts to manage Sindalah, the development’s first superyacht destination on the Red Sea

Neom appoints manager for superyacht destination

Saudi’s $500 billion giga project Neom has appointed a company to head its superyacht destination on the Red Sea. JLS Yachts, a Middle East-based yacht agency and concierge service provider, will manage Sindalah, which will be home to more than 5,000 berths. Set to open in 2024, Sindalah is one of the 41 Neom islands […]

A tourist visits the Pyramids in Egypt

Emaar to invest in Egypt tourism 

Emaar Properties, the Dubai developer behind the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, is looking to expand into the hotel sector in Egypt, the company’s founder said in an interview. Gulf tourism is surging on Egypt’s Mediterranean north coast despite the country’s economic crisis.  “The north coast in Egypt has reached development levels in recent years […]

Abu Dhabi Spain

Abu Dhabi fund buys share of hotel group in Spain

Coral Reef, a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and Melia Hotels International have received approval to acquire a portfolio of 17 hotels from Equity Inmuebles in Spain and the Canary Islands. Financial details around the acquisition were not revealed. The deal was given the green light by the European Commission under EU merger regulations. […]

Mosque of the Prophet, Medina, Saudi Arabia

Saudi tourism revenue grows as budget surplus shrinks

Tourism revenue is beginning to emerge as a serious component on Saudi Arabia’s balance of payments, tripling in a year, and experts see the sector as a “very important” offset to any decline in oil earnings. While the kingdom’s current account returned another surplus in the first quarter of 2023 of $17.7 billion, this was […]

Tourists and residents in Red Square, Moscow, Russia - St Basil's Cathedral is visible

Moscow still a key destination for Middle East tourists

Moscow remains popular for tourists from the Middle East despite the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Russia launched a war against its neighbour in February last year, yet tourists from the Middle East made 139,600 trips to Moscow throughout 2022, according to statistics from the Moscow City Tourism Committee (MCTC). At the end of […]

inclusive tourism uae

UAE taps multi-billion dollar inclusive tourism market

Amsaan Accessible Tours claims to be the first company in the Mena region specialising in creating unique tours for deaf people, tapping into the underserved and yet multi-billion dollar inclusive tourism market. The Dubai company uses technology to provide tours with all information in sign language. There are deaf guides for group tours, on-demand sign […]

IHG hotel

Hotel giant reports room revenue up in Middle East

IHG Hotel & Resorts, whose 18 brands include Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, has reported an 18 percent rise in revenue per available room at its hotels in the Middle East in the second quarter of the year. The company, which is listed in London and New York, said the year-on-year increase in its Middle […]

Visitors to Saudi Arabia perform the Umrah pilgrimage

Saudi expands online visa programme in tourism drive

Saudi Arabia has added eight new countries to its list of nationalities that can apply for a tourist visa online, as the kingdom aims to attract 100 million visitors per year by 2030. The addition of Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, South Africa, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to the e-visa system allows people from these countries […]

Dubai tourist

Tourist inflow to Dubai eclipses pre-pandemic levels

Dubai received 8.55 million global tourist travellers between January and June 2023, recording a 20 percent year-on-year growth. The emirate exceeded the pre-pandemic figure of 8.36 million tourists in H1 2019, the state-run Dubai Media Office reported, citing data from the Department of Economy and Tourism. “The surge in international visitors witnessed by Dubai in the […]