Ruchi Jaiswal

11% YoY increase in international overnight visitors to Dubai in Q1 2017

sheikh JPG

Dubai’s tourism sector sustained the momentum of its strong 2017 start, with the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) reporting a 11 per cent increase in overnight visitation in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2016. January to March 2017 saw 4.57 million travellers visit the city, reflecting more than double the growth achieved in the first quarter of last year. Among Dubai’s top 20 source markets for inbound tourism, China and Russia continued to top the growth trajectory charts with unparalleled 64 per cent and 106 per cent increases over Q1 2016, delivering 230,000 and 126,000 tourists respectively. Attributable in large part to the positive regulatory changes enabling citizens from both countries to obtain free visas-on-arrival in the UAE, this performance spike has resulted in both countries moving up in their rankings as key feeder markets for Dubai, with China at number four and Russia at number 11, edging closer to a return to the top 10. Retaining their stronghold on the top three positions were India, KSA and UK, accounting collectively for 30 per cent of total Q1 visitation to Dubai, with India becoming the first ever market to record nearly 580,000 visitors in any one quarter, with a massive 23 per cent growth in arrivals between January and March. Despite its 8 per cent drop over 2016, driven due to a backward shift in annual school holidays, KSA continued to drive volumes with 440,000 visitors, while UK rallied growth across the mega markets with its 5 per cent increase to mitigate the declines from KSA and Oman, which rounded off the top 5 with 214,000 overnight guests. …

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Swissôtel enters Bosnian market with 218-room hotel in Sarajevo

Swissotel Sarajevo JPG

Swissôtel, part of AccorHotels, announced that it has entered into a franchise agreement with Al Shiddi International for development of a new 218-room urban resort scheduled to open in early 2018. Situated next to Bosnian Parliament, within the expansive mixed use Sarajevo City Center project, consisting of shopping mall and office tower with 30,000 daily visitors, Swissôtel Sarajevo will enjoy a commanding downtown commercial and residential location, as a new landmark for Sarajevo, close to top attractions and Sarajevo International Airport. The project is being developed and operated by Al Shiddi International from Riyadh, one of the prominent investment companies in Saudi Arabia with an extensive portfolio of investments locally and globally featuring financial services, real estate, agriculture, manufacturing, industrial and retail. Interiors are designed by Scott Brownrigg Associates, a leading UK hotel design firm with extensive experience in high end hotel development across Europe, hotel will offer scenic all-glass views of the downtown and mountains, stunning guestrooms featuring spacious bedrooms. Completing the guest experience will be a private executive club, three exquisite dining outlets, the brand’s signature Pürovel Spa & Sport, and 500 square meters (5,300 square feet) of indoor meeting space with function areas.

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UAE-Turkey passengers numbers increased by 14% in last 12 months

TURKISH AIRLINES 4X3

Turkish Airlines has reported a significant growth in the number of inbound and outbound tourists for Turkey and the GCC, at ATM being held at Dubai International Convention Centre until April 27, 2017. According to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Turkey, the number of visitors from GCC nationals who travelled to Turkey in 2016 increased by 10.5 per cent in comparison with the previous year reaching 822,849 people, with the biggest increase belonging to travellers from Saudi Arabia which saw a growth of 18 percent to reach 530,410 people. The second largest growth in tourist numbers was from the UAE to Turkey reporting an increase of 14 per cent. M. İlker Aycı, Turkish Airlines’ Chairman of the Board and the Executive Committee, said: “2016 has been a successful year for Turkish Airlines in terms of our global fleet and network expansion as we continue to build momentum for our excellent in-flight and customer service. Our network expansion has also been a pivotal step in supporting the increasing customer demand in all our markets, including the UAE and the wider GCC. Through new and innovative features, as well as having a growing fleet, our aim is to provide customers with the best possible options, both in terms of new destinations and innovative products and services.” The airline also reported that the top three outbound destinations from Turkey to travel in the GCC region are Jeddah, Dubai and Kuwait reflecting that the GCC market continues to be a popular attraction for many.

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Arab Tourism to Egypt accounts for 36.3% of total traffic

ETA at Arabian Travel Market 2017

Travellers from Arab countries account for more than one third of the total tourist traffic to Egypt in 2016, and forecasts for 2017 are positive and are in continuous growth. H.E. Yehia Rashed, Minister of Tourism in Egypt, said: “Arab tourism to Egypt in 2016 represented 36.3 percent of the total tourist traffic to Egypt, which is more than one third of the total traffic. Saudi Arabia ranked first amongst incoming Arab tourists, with a total of 507 thousand tourists visiting Egypt, followed by Jordan, with 180 thousand tourists, and Kuwait with about 150 thousand tourists and Lebanon with nearly 86 thousand. The total number of travelers from Arab countries to Egypt reached 2 million tourists in 2016, compared to 1.7 million Arab tourists in 2015, which marks an increase of 13.2 percent, whereas in the first quarter of 2017, the number of Arab tourists increased by 38.8 percent when compared to the same period last year.” The Ministry of Tourism of Egypt and Egyptian Tourism Authority announced their participation at the Arabian Travel Market, taking place in Dubai from April 24-27. The participation is in line with both of their efforts to highlight Egypt’s enormous tourism potential and focuses on the various destinations that attracts tourists from all over the world, especially Arabs. “Our participation at the Arabian Travel Markets primarily aims at engaging and communicating effectively with our partners and stakeholders in the region and to enhance the efforts to attract Arab tourists to Egypt. The Arab market represents one of the most significant markets exporting tourism to Egypt. This is due to several reasons, most importantly because of the proximity to many Arab countries and similarity of …

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GCC turns to India & China to boost growth in tourism receipts

ATM China India GCC JPG

Major tourism destinations in the GCC will increase efforts to target Indian and Chinese inbound tourists, as regional and international guests from Europe continue to feel the acute financial pressures of the challenging global economy. The findings were published on April 24 by Colliers International at Arabian Travel Market, at Dubai World Trade Centre, during a seminar session entitled ‘Capitalising on Experiential Travel: China & India Mega Source Markets’. Already key markets for the region, China counts an average of 122 million outbound tourists annually and India contributes 22 million, with overseas spending calculated to be $252 billion and $15.4 billion respectively in 2015. China’s outbound tourism market is currently growing, on average, 6.7% year-on-year, while India’s market posts average annual growth of 7 per cent. The trend is largely proliferated by increasing levels of personal wealth and a demand for experiential travel.  China is home to 1.4 million high net worth individuals (HNWI), with 146 million working class nationals, representing 19% of the working population, and 90 million urban blue collar workers. Counted together, they represent almost 29% of the population and are the most likely to travel. India, meanwhile, is home to 433,000 HNWI, with 59 million considered urban middle and educated urban and 97 million counted as urban blue collar workers. Together, they represent almost 31% of the population that is eligible and likely to travel. Making a total of 12 recommendations concerning visas, accommodation, cultural sensitivities and marketing, the report advises GCC-wide multi-entry visas with similar principles to the Schengen Area; hotel welcome kits and signage in guests’ native languages; promotion of cultural celebrations and festivals from each country; and targeted loyalty programmes. According to the …

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Qatar Airways and TAT ink deal to boost tourism

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The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Qatar Airways, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 24 at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2017 in Dubai. With this latest partnership, TAT seeks to leverage the strength of Qatar Airways’ extensive global network, particularly its presence in secondary cities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, to increase the number of tourist arrivals to Thailand in 2017/18. Under the MoU, TAT and Qatar Airways will develop joint promotions to mutually increase tourism and visibility for Thailand to travellers in more than 150 destinations the airline flies to. Effective 1 June, Qatar Airways will have five daily flights from Doha to Bangkok. The increased frequency, along with its double-daily Phuket flights and the five-month-old Krabi operations (4 flights a week), take the number of weekly Qatar Airways departures from Thailand to Doha to 53. Besides the existing three popular Thai destinations, Qatar Airways has also set its sights on Chiang Mai, the largest city in Northern Thailand. The MoU was signed by Qatar Airways Chief Commercial Officer Ehab Amin and Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Deputy Governor for International Marketing, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas, Tanes Petsuwan. They were joined by Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Chalermsak Suranant, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand Dubai and Middle East Office and other high-ranking executives from both organisations.

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Over 2600 exhibitors at ATM 2017

ATM logo 2017

Dubai witnessed the largest ATM with over 2600 exhibitors and 65 national pavilions as it was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Al Maktoum Bin Rashid today at the Dubai World Trade Center. The region’s leading travel industry with insightful seminar sessions, four days of business networking opportunities expects over 30,000 visitors during the next few days with over 35 seminars.

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India remains top source market for GCC

Indians tourists

Major tourism hotspots in the GCC are experiencing a surge in Indian visitors. In both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, India was the top performing source market in 2016. In Dubai, 1.8 million nationals arrived last year compared to 1.6 million in 2015 and in Abu Dhabi, which welcomed a record-breaking 4.4 million visitors in total in 2016, 323,388 were Indian. According to the figures from Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, this marks an increase of 15 per cent on 2015. In Oman, three million tourists visited the Sultanate in 2016, of which 299,568 were Indian. Historically, numbers increased 17 per cent in 2015 compared to 2014 and, over the last five years, Oman has seen a 60 per cent increase in the total number of arrivals from India. Earlier this year, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar and Minister of Interior, met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the topic of visas on arrival for Indian nationals. When the new regulations are introduced, the transit market is also set to benefit, bringing even higher numbers into Qatar and building on the 182,920 who visited in the first half of 2016. “UNWTO (United Nations World Travel Organisation) data shows that 62 million Indians have passports, yet many do not travel. However, the demographic patterns we see currently – an increasing younger population and a growing middle class – provide strong indications that the country is about to see a steep rise in the number of nationals travelling abroad, as well as the number of foreign visitors it welcomes.” India has been named the largest growing outbound tourism market in percentage terms, with …

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6.3% growth at UAE airports in 2017

Sharjah Airport

Despite sluggish global economic growth, the UAE will lead Middle East passenger growth in 2017 with an annual increase of more than 6.3 per cent, according to estimates from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Middle East carriers have reported the strongest annual traffic growth of any region globally for the fifth year running in 2016, according to the IATA. RPKs (revenue passenger kilometres) grew 11.8 per cent consolidating the region’s position as the third-largest market for global passengers. Capacity growth of 13.7 per cent outstripped demand however, driving down the average load factor by 1.3 percentage points to 74.7 per cent. With a number of aviation mega-projects underway across the GCC and wider Middle East, airports are expanding slightly ahead of the curve in demand, with capacity in 2016 increasing by 13.9 per cent and a forecast for 2017 of 10.1 per cent.

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Emirates reduces flights to US

Emirates Boeing 777-300ER

Emirates has reduced flights to five of the 12 US cities it currently serves. From May 1 and May 23 respectively, their Fort Lauderdale and Orlando operations will move from daily services to five a week. From June 1 & 2, respectively, their Seattle and Boston operations will move from twice-daily services, to a daily service. From July 1, our operations to Los Angeles will move from twice-daily to a daily service. This is a commercial decision in response to weakened travel demand to US. A statement by the airline said: “The recent actions taken by the US government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the US.  Until the start of 2017, Emirates’ operations in the US have seen healthy growth and performance, driven by customer demand for our high quality product and our international flight connections. “However, over the past 3 months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our US routes, across all travel segments. Emirates has therefore responded as any profit-oriented enterprise would, and we will redeploy capacity to serve demand on other routes on our global network. “We will closely monitor the situation with the view to reinstate and grow our US flight operations as soon as viable. Emirates is committed to our US operations and will continue to serve our 12 American gateways – New York JFK, Newark, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando – with 101 flight departures per week, connecting these cities to …

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