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Travel & Hospitality

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

The Waldorf Astoria in Dubai

Dubai sees international visitors surge 214%

Dubai hosted 3.97 million overnight international visitors in the first quarter of 2022, up 214 percent from the same period last year, the emirate’s government said on Tuesday. The Expo 2020 Dubai world fair, which ran from October to March and which Dubai looked to as a to boost its economy, saw 24 million visits […]

Air travel took a massive hit globally as the pandemic took hold. Picture: Creative Commons

Saudi reveals post-Covid entry policy in tourism push

Government white paper proposes simplifying health-related entry protocols for travellers to the kingdom Saudi Arabia is working to introduce a shared framework by which countries can share information on local and global health crises to prevent disruption in air travel to and from the kingdom. The proposed policy, called Harmonising Air Travel and set out […]

Hotels swallow rising costs so guests can sleep at night

Despite costs rising to a three-year high, hoteliers in the United Arab Emirates told AGBI they are not planning to increase room rates, instead opting to squeeze their existing profits as they search for ways to increase operational efficiencies. The latest S&P Global UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), released on Monday, found that costs are […]

AerCap, the world's biggest aircraft lessor, has submitted a $3.5 billion insurance claim. Picture: Creative Commons

Billion dollar battle to begin for planes grounded in Russia

Lessors with hundreds of jets stuck in Russia are preparing for what one said would be a “vigorous” pursuit of insurance claims while maintaining discreet contact with some customers after Moscow blocked the jets from leaving. The loss of over 400 leased planes worth almost $10 billion since Western countries sanctioned Russia has led to […]

Will Abu Dhabi’s new tourism vision drive international influx?

Saadiyat Island, the cultural centrepiece of Abu Dhabi’s tourism offering, has unveiled a new vision which seeks to attract 19 million visitors and contribute AED 4.2 billion ($1.1 billion) in direct revenue by 2025. The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) and developer Miral unveiled the new strategy to support […]

Perth airport in Western Australia

Air travellers ‘still risk Covid infection,’ study warns

Passengers are still at risk of coronavirus infection while travelling on aeroplanes and in airports, researchers have warned. A study in the Journal of Travel Medicine reported that two Covid-positive passengers infected 15 other people during a 10-hour flight from Dubai to Australia in July 2020 – despite mandatory face masks for passengers, the use […]

Outdoors, Nature, Wheel

Belgian music festival launches adults-only desert glamping

Belgian music festival organiser Tomorrowland has teamed up with local partners to open an adults-only desert resort, which will include luxury glamping accommodation, it was announced yesterday at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai. The desert resort, to be named Terra Solis, will be located in Dubailand, Al Yufra, 25 minutes’ drive from Downtown Dubai […]

Talabat riders refused to work over their pay and working conditions. Picture: Twitter

Food drivers stage walk-out over pay inspired by Deliveroo

Foreign food delivery workers in the United Arab Emirates staged a mass walk-out yesterday, calling for better pay and working conditions in a rare instance of industrial action in the country. The strike follows similar action this month in which foreign workers forced another company to suspend plans to cut pay. In the latest episode, […]

Water, Pool, Swimming Pool

70 million tourists to visit Saudi Arabia this year

Saudi Arabia aims to exceed 70 million tourist visits this year, up eight million on the year before. The kingdom has in recent years started to promote leisure travel as part of a strategy aimed at diversifying the economy away from oil, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Visits were up 130 percent in […]

Could alcohol be allowed at Saudi’s NEOM?

The issue of legalising the sale of alcohol in Saudi Arabia is “not off the table”, according to a senior executive from one of the kingdom’s most high profile giga projects. “On alcohol, Saudi has a view NEOM will be its own authority, that’s not off the table,” Andrew McEvoy, managing director tourism at NEOM, […]

Willie Walsh is confident that passenger travel will be back to pre-pandemic levels next year. Picture: Creative Commons

Air travel makes quick recovery from Covid-19

The head of the world’s biggest airline trade body said today passenger traffic was recovering faster than expected and that, on average, the industry could now see those figures return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023, a year earlier than expected. The easing of coronavirus related restrictions around the world has released demand pent up over […]

Boeing 737 Max

Leasing giant AerCap says Boeing will ‘bounce back’

The head of the world’s largest aircraft leasing company threw his weight behind Boeing on Monday, saying the jetmaker would overcome a spate of industrial and certification problems. “I think Boeing will bounce back. There are a few scenes in this movie to be played out yet,” Aengus Kelly, AerCap’s chief executive, told the Airline […]

Boat, Transportation, Vehicle

New Dubai tourism plans for world famous QE2

Hospitality giant Accor on Monday announced it has added the world-renowned cruise ship, the Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2), to its portfolio as it looks to boost its luxury offerings in the UAE.  The cruise ship will undergo further upgrades and renovations prior to joining the MGallery Hotel Collection. No date has yet been confirmed for […]

Gulf’s top airlines take different paths to soar post-Covid

The air travel industry was among the worst hit globally by the coronavirus pandemic and its ensuing lockdowns and border closures — and the Middle East’s industry was no exception.  According to a report by McKinsey & Company, the pandemic caused global aviation revenues to drop by 60 percent in 2020, and airlines lost a […]

Lufthansa sees return to profit as air travel rebounds

Germany’s Lufthansa is looking to return to an operating profit this quarter as demand for travel rises with the easing of coronavirus curbs and the airline raises ticket prices to offset higher costs. The group, which owns the German airlines Lufthansa and Eurowings as well as Swiss, Austrian and Brussels Airlines, doubled sales in the […]

Cruise giant blames slow summer demand on Ukraine crisis

Royal Caribbean Group on Thursday flagged slow summer demand for European cruises due to the Ukraine crisis, after a dull first quarter as it reeled under a resurgence in coronavirus infections in some parts of the world. Shares of the cruise operator fell about 5 percent to $73.87 after Royal Caribbean Group said higher fuel […]

Airlines forecast higher fares after energy price spike

Airlines will pass on rising oil prices to passengers through higher fares relatively quickly, but the spike in energy costs will worsen the industry’s overall outlook in 2022, according to the head of the International Air Transport Association. Speaking after JetBlue launched a counter-bid for US budget carrier Spirit Airlines, director general Willie Walsh also […]

Airplane, Aircraft, Vehicle

Qatar Airways suffers setback in feud with Airbus

A British judge has denied a bid by Qatar Airways to reinstate a jet contractcancelled by Europe’s Airbus in the latest twist to a dramatic feud playing out in UK courts. The companies have been locked in a safety dispute for months on Europe’s A350 long-haul jet. Their unprecedented bust-up widened in January when Airbus revoked a separate deal for […]

Visitors to Turkey jump 130% in March

The number of foreign visitors arriving in Turkey jumped 129.7 percent from a year earlier to 2.08 million in March, data showed on Friday, as the sector continued to recover from the impact of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus since 2020. The arrivals compared with a level of 718,097 foreign visitors in March […]

Airbus wins backing for 2024 jet output

European planemaker Airbus looks set to raise narrowbody jetliner production for 2024 after reaching a compromise deal with at least two suppliers following months of wrangling over the speed of post-pandemic recovery. The world’s largest planemaker is restoring and slightly expanding pre-pandemic output for best-selling models as traffic rebounds in the West, but has been […]