Tag Archives: MENA

MENA Leisure & Attractions industry to experience boost during the holidays

MENA Leisure and Attractions businesses are all set to welcome a larger number of visitors during Ramadan and the subsequent Eid holidays. The Leisure and Attractions industry is not only one of the greatest contributors to national GDPs in the region, but it also brings immense joy to families looking to spend more quality time together during Ramadan and Eid. Making the Holy Month a truly memorable time for families, the region’s theme parks, family entertainment centres, water parks, and other attractions continue to bring stunning world-class experiences to visitors. Rosa Tahmaseb, Secretary-General at MENALAC shares, “The MENA region is highly enthusiastic about leisure. This paired with Ramadan and Eid, a period during which people have more time to spend on themselves and their loved ones will result in a much-needed revenue uptick for our sector”. Tahmaseb comments, “We’re thrilled to see technology being adopted more regularly at multiple attractions across the MENA region. The uptake of technology means that our ever-evolving industry can clearly see the benefits of better technology, both from a business management tool view as well as the increased hygiene and security measures that come as standard with various ticketing and cashless cards systems”. She continues, “It is fantastic to see how each attraction adopts the new technologies available to them from amusement parks in Dubai with their contactless technology to Cultural sites in Saudi Arabia”. Sustainability also plays a key role in the industry’s future with eco-friendly features forming a cornerstone of up and coming projects in the region. Renowned for its passion for leisure and entertainment, the MENA region remains committed to bringing its residents and international visitors world-class experiences. As waves of cultural …

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Skyscanner reveals trending destinations for Eid Al Fitr and Summer 2021 for MENA travellers

Skyscanner announced the trending destinations for Eid Al Fitr 2021 and the extended summer period. The research demonstrates that the time is now for travel, as MENA travellers are eager to travel safely and responsibly as soon as they can. The top searches for travellers within the UAE and Saudi Arabia during the Eid period included Cairo, Amman and Alexandria for families, whereas groups are turning their attention to Ibiza and Malaga and couples are looking to go to the Maldives, Mauritius and Santorini. For UAE travellers, staycations are still prioritized, with Abu Dhabi, Fujairah or Ras Al Khaimah proving popular. According to Skyscanner’s recent travel trends report – ‘Skyscanner Horizons – The Return of Travel’ – that revealed the top trending destinations globally, Dubai was ranked the 4th most popular destination, likely driven by travellers looking for a holiday, as well as wanting to reunite with friends and family to celebrate Eid. The comprehensive report also highlights that travellers are making their holidays count, as the global average trip length is 16 days in 2021 – two days higher in comparison to 2019 averages. This is a result of shorter journey times as travellers opt for trips that are closer to home, particularly from June to September, with longer trips in October 2021. In 2019, the average journey time from June to October was 11 hours. This has fallen to 10 hours in 2021. Ayoub El Mamoun, Global Travel Expert at Skyscanner shares his tips on how to bag a good last-minute deal and plan ahead for future travels, “Safe and responsible travel remains a key topic for MENA consumers and with travel beginning to re-open across the region, …

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Wego partners with GNTO to promote future travel

Wego partners with the German National Tourist Office, Gulf countries (GNTO) to invite travellers to discover the destination of Germany and virtually explore its amazing attractions and hidden gems. Until it is safe to travel again, Wego brings the world to you in the comfort of your home. With the message ‘dream now – visit later’, this joint partnership with ‘Wego’ introduces the global campaign ‘#DiscoverGermanyFromHome’ to tomorrow’s travellers in the GCC by providing them with inspiring and informative content, virtual experiences in its 16 federal states, Spotify playlists, an interactive map, quizzes, recipes and much more to keep their interest in the destination alive until travel is resumed. Speaking of the partnership, Yamina Sofo, Director Sales & Marketing, German National Tourist Office, Gulf countries (GNTO) commented, “The Gulf region is among the Top 20 of the most important source markets to Germany and the third largest source market outside Europe. Our partnership with Wego is a great opportunity to highlight that Germany ticks all boxes of the GCC travellers aiming for wellness and recreation, nature and sightseeing or simply for entertainment and shopping, while enjoying high quality services, great value for money, luxury accommodation and facilities.” Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director, MENA and India, Wego, said, “We are bringing the world to our users until it is safe to travel again and we’re thrilled to partner with GNTO to promote one of the most beautiful European countries. Germany entices tourists with its rich and vibrant nature and culture; it’s a must-see destination for everyone.”

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Relief is critical for Middle East airlines as COVID-19 impact deepens says IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) renewed its call for government relief measures as the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis in MENA deepen. The region’s airlines could lose $24 billion of passenger revenue compared to 2019. That is $5 billion more than was expected at the beginning of the month; job losses in aviation and related industries could grow to 1.2 million. That is half of the region’s 2.4 million aviation-related employment. Previous estimate was 0.9 million. Full-year 2020 traffic is expected to plummet by 51 per cent compared to 2019. Previous estimate was a fall of 39 per cent. GDP supported by aviation in the region could fall by $66 billion from $130 billion. Previous estimate was $51 billion. These estimates are based on a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions in domestic markets, followed by regional and intercontinental. “Airlines in the Middle East continue to be battered by the impact of COVID-19. Passenger traffic has all but ground to a halt and revenue streams have evaporated. No amount of cost cutting will save airlines from a liquidity crisis. The collapse of air transport will have devastating effects on countries’ economies and jobs. And in a region where aviation is a key pillar of many nations’ economies the effect will be much worse. Direct financial support is essential to maintain jobs and ensure airlines can remain viable businesses,” said Muhammad Al Bakri, Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, IATA. Some of the impacts at national level include: Saudi Arabia- 35 million fewer passengers resulting in a US $7.2 billion revenue loss, risking 287,500 jobs and US $17.9 …

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47 per cent of visitors from MENA region visit Thailand in the ‘green season’

Almost half (47 per cent) of MENA nationals who visited Thailand during 2018 chose to travel during the green season. This season, also described as the ‘rainy season’, runs from June to October and is one of the most vibrant times of the year in Thailand, bringing with it picturesque tones of blues and greens. During the rainy season, the temperature ranges from 89º F (32º C) to 78º F (25º C). Although the green season in Thailand brings with it unpredictable weather, there are still plenty of activities that travellers can do during the rainy season such as temple visits, exploring Thailand’s incredible food scene, museums, malls and famous markets. Travelling to Thailand during the green season also has the added bonus of being much cheaper than during high season, with flight fares costing less and many hotels and retreats offering discounts. Alongside cultural and ecological excursions, visitors to Thailand can also spend time at hundreds of wellness retreats, which focus on physical and mental wellbeing. Specialised meditation and healing yoga sessions can all help to re-energise the mind as well as the body. For those looking for something more hard-core, Thailand’s famous Muay Thai retreats can help you get into shape fast in a fun, social and supportive environment.

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Dubai welcomes 11.58 million visitors in first 3 quarters of 2018

Dubai remains on track to becoming the most visited city for global travel, business and events, according to the latest visitation figures released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). The emirate welcomed 11.58 million visitors in the first three quarters of 2018, with India retaining its position as Dubai’s leading source market, followed by Saudi Arabia and the UK continuing to hold second and third positions respectively, underlining the city’s sustained appeal to its traditional strongholds and a wider diversified global audience. Russia, China and Germany continued to be key drivers within the top performing markets, each recording double-digit growth compared to the same period in 2017. Tourism from Russia remained on high trajectory, growing by a massive 60 per cent year-on-year, with visitor numbers surging to 460,000 in just the first nine months of 2018. The increase in Russian overnight guests was supported by a strong 19 per cent growth in air capacity across non-stop flights, in addition to added ease of travel access following the introduction of visa-on-arrival facilities in the last two years. China also continued to highlight benefits from the visa-on-arrival scheme, complementing the ongoing ‘China Readiness’ strategy, consequently re-enforcing its upward curve resulting in China securing its position as the fourth largest feeder market with an impressive 641,000 visitors so far this year, marking a 12 per cent increase versus 573,000 for the same period last year. Germany grew even faster at 15 per cent to reach 388,000 visitors during the first nine months, landing in eighth place within the top 10 source markets for Dubai. From a regional perspective, the first nine months saw 20 per cent of overnight visitors …

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GCC Board of Directors Institute announces 6th Chairman Summit in Riyadh

The GCC Board of Directors Institute (GCC BDI) has announced the 6th Annual Chairman Summit in Riyadh on November 26, that is expected to draw the participation of influential chairmen, board directors and C-suite executives to debate on a wide range of topics. Titled ‘Digital Disruption and the Fourth Industrial Revolution – Are boards ready?’, the summit will look into board strategies on digital transformation and the skill sets required to fully embrace disruptive technologies, as well as cyber security advice, best-practices in IT governance and how Blockchain technology and AI will transform business processes. The summit will be opened by His Excellency Eng Abdullah Al-Swaha, Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Saudi Arabia, with welcome remarks given by Mohammed Al-Shroogi, Chairman, GCC BDI, as well as Dr Abdul-Rahman bin Saad Al-Jadhai, Chief Executive Officer, Elm. Other guest speakers will include renowned serial entrepreneur James Bilefield, Lino Cattaruzzi, Managing Director- MENA, Google; Ihab Foudeh, General Manager- Public Sector- MENA, Microsoft; Abdulrahman Tarabzouni, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, STV; Xavi Anglada, Managing Director and Digital Lead-MENA, Accenture; Phyllis Newhouse, Chief Executive Officer, Xtreme Solutions, Dr Hans-Martin Stockmeier, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, Evans Munyuki, Group Chief Digital Officer, Emirates NBD; Matthew White, Head, Digital Trust and Blockchain Lead, PwC; Omar Hashem, Head of Digital and Technology at NCB; Wael Fattouh, Cybersecurity and Technology Risk Partner, PwC; Zeyad Khoshaim, Managing Partner, Khoshaim & Associates and Vinay Chandran, Digital Partner, McKinsey & Company. Jane Valls, Executive Director, GCC BDI, said, “Technological advancements continue to shift the paradigms in the business world faster than ever before. This year’s Chairman Summit has been established to identify industry trends with the help of some of …

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New Amadeus solution ensures seamless corporate travel

As corporate travel behaviour continues to evolve in the Middle East, Amadeus has launched a new corporate self-booking tool to support business travellers in the Middle East and North Africa in managing busy schedules while reducing travel costs. The engine was designed taking into account feedback from travel management companies and business travel trends in the region, recognising that today’s business travellers require the latest technologies to keep them connected, productive and on the move. Amadeus Online Corporate Traveller uses automated processes to integrate all phases of travel management, thereby uniting the business traveller, travel management companies, travel managers, and financial officers with one ultimate shared destination – business success. It is being launched in partnership with BirdRes, a leading B2B application developer including automation tools, which is also a reseller of Amadeus products in India. Antoine Medawar, Vice President, Amadeus MENA, said, “Corporate travellers in the region require quick and convenient tools that meet their business needs—and often demanding schedules. The Amadeus Online Corporate Traveller fulfils these requirements by connecting the traveller with every person involved in the booking process, from the finance team through to the travel management company. This will deliver a seamless experience to the end user while enabling all involved to benefit from more streamlined processes.” Ankur Bhatia, Director, BirdRes, said, “One-stop solutions are in demand in the MENA region as travel management companies seek the most convenient way of meeting the varied needs of their customers. The Amadeus Online Corporate Traveller is suited to the region’s latest travel policies, demonstrating a deep understanding of consumer preferences and needs.”

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Wego publishes inaugural ‘MENA Traveller Destination Leaderboards’ at ATM

At the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, Wego revealed the ‘MENA Traveller Destination Leaderboards’ that showcases the relative popularity of global destinations amongst travellers based in the MENA region. As the largest online travel marketplace across the MENA region, Wego users shop for tens of millions of trips each quarter and it’s this flight and hotel search data that has been analysed to determine the destination rankings. The leaderboard announced today is for Q1 2018 and subsequent updates will be released shortly after the close of each quarter. Egypt retains its top ranking in Q1 2018 as the most popular destination for travellers, from across the MENA region. “MENA travellers are lured by the culture, scenic attractions, and incredible food that can be experienced in Egypt”, said Mamoun Hmedan, Managing Director – MENA and India, Wego. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia retains its second ranking and received a steady mix of business, expatriate and religious travel. India at the third position and Turkey at the fourth slot stepped up one rung each in the destination leaderboard for Q1 2018 vs Q1 2017, while UAE fell from the third to the fifth position. Despite the overall drop, Dubai remains a popular destination for MENA travellers. The biggest gainer in Q1 2018 was Oman which jumped a massive 9 places to #15, an improvement likely related to the opening of a new airport in Muscat and a host of new hotels and other facilities opening in the Sultanate.

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15 MENA airlines sign agreement with Amadeus

A total of 15 airlines from the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) have entered into a 10-year framework agreement with Amadeus for distribution services, negotiated and led by the Arab Air Carriers Association (AACO). The airlines participating in the framework agreement to date carried 110 million passengers in 2016, meaning that these airlines will serve over 1 billion passengers during the 10-year duration of the agreement. For the participating AACO airlines, the partnership will drive economies of scale, technological efficiencies and support the airlines’ vision for distribution in the future. Abdul Wahab Teffaha, Secretary General, AACO commented, “This long-term agreement represents a landmark for a number of AACO members with a technology partner dedicated to supporting new business strategies.” Julia Sattel, Senior Vice President, Airlines, Amadeus, said, “We are proud to further deepen our partnership with AACO and its member airlines. Amadeus’ focus on innovation and technology, combined with a partnership approach were in close alignment with the requirements identified by the members of AACO’s taskforce for future distribution strategies.”

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