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The Middle East has long sat at the center of how the world connects with itself, but the region is evolving at record speed, as well as being a convenient hub, in one of the most interesting and dynamic stories in the global travel industry.

That’s why Skift is hosting its first ever Skift Global Forum East from December 13-15 in Dubai, and today we’re announcing the launch of a Middle East-specific newsletter that brings you the essential news from all travel sectors. What you’ll receive in your inbox, first weekly and then daily, will be easy-to-digest articles on the latest news, from hotel developments, online travel innovations, airline expansion news, not to mention who’s behind the scenes. of everything this growth and investment.

These are ideas you don’t want to miss.

Here is the first issue, compiled by our Asia/Middle East editor, Peden Doma Bhutia.

Middle East Travel Summary: For November 2, 2022
Presented by: Skift
They ask for Doma Bhutia, Editor
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Today’s report

O FIFA World Cup scheduled to be held Qatar this month promises a boom business for hotels in the region It’s no surprise then that the Middle East and Africa was the only region in the world to see an increase in global hotel pipeline activity at the end of the third quarter, they report. hotel data giant STR. With most of the region’s pipeline activity centered in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia (39,070) and the United Arab Emirates (32,272) lead construction activity.

In what has been dubbed a post-World Cup boom, Qatar is ready to receive 6.24 million tourists by 2028 with spending in the sector reaching 28,000 million dollars, according to a report published by the Qatar Chamber on Sunday. The report, “Qatar Economic and Trade Activities 2022”, noted that tourism spending would increase by 9.1 percent annually until 2028. The report further stated that authorities have been working to create a system to speed up the licensing procedure for tourism businesses, to attract more investment in the country. Qatar expects more than 1.5 million soccer fans to visit the country during the World Cup. The country also scrapped the requirement for a negative polymerase chain reaction test before arrival from Tuesday, just in time for the FIFA World Cup.

Emirates began its mass two-year renewal program with work starting on the first of 120 aircraft destined for a complete update of the cabin interior and the installation of the airline’s latest premium economy seats. The ambitious project will witness a multi-million dollar investment where 67 A380s and 53 777s will undergo a facelift. By April 2025, when the project is complete, around 4,000 premium economy seats will be installed, while 728 first class suites will be renovated and more than 5,000 business class seats will be upgraded. Emirates announced plans to introduce premium economy service on its routes to New York JFK, San Francisco, Melbourne, Auckland and Singapore by March 2023. Speaking at the Ultratravel Forum in London on Monday, Tim Clark, president of Emirates, said that premium economy services witnessed a great response from passengers and has been full since its launch. He also noted that instead of moving from business economy to premium economy, passengers were switching to premium economy from economy.

Sunset Hospitality Group based in Dubai has insured a $35 million in funding from Goldman Sachs Asset Management. The group which is currently present in nine countries owns and operates hospitality lifestyle brands including METT Hotels & Resorts, Aura, Azure Beach, SushiSamba, Isola, Black Tap, L’amo, Ammos and Drift Beach. The funding will support the company’s international expansion plans, the company said in a press release. The company is actively looking for acquisition opportunities around the world and the financing would be essential for this new phase, said Antonio González, CEO of Sunset Hospitality Group. The iconic METT Hotel & Beach Resort property will open in the summer of 2023 in Marbella, Spain. The company is also exploring additional opportunities in the Mediterranean region, UK, US and Asia. “The investment is a sign of confidence in Dubai and the UAE as a center for entrepreneurship and a growing center for the hospitality industry,” Gonzalez said.

The Saudi Arabia Tourism Development Fund it is sealed a $172 million deal with the Dana Bay Tourism Company develop a mixed-use spa project in the eastern province of the kingdom. The resort would have luxurious villas managed by IHG, represented by the InterContinental brand. Spread over an area of ​​2.8 million square meters, the project includes attractions such as a water park and a beach resort that will stretch along a 14 km beach area, enhancing the urban growth of the region in line with Vision 2030 , a statement from the Saudi Press. the agency said. The agreement would help translate the efforts of the Tourism Development Fund to activate tourism destinations in the kingdom, strengthening support programs and diversifying financing solutions, said its CEO Qusai Abdullah Al Fakhri.

As it is configured to host the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Cop27) climate summit this week, Sharm al Sheikh, the tourist city of Egypt now it’s called the first environmentally friendly city in the Middle East. Announcing this, Khaled Fouda, Governor of South Sinai, said that the Green Zone project in Sharm el-Sheikh has finally been completed, “31 projects have been implemented to transform Sharm el-Sheikh into the first green tourist city in Egypt and the Middle East” . Ahead of the summit, Egypt’s tourism minister gave hotels and tourist establishments in Sharm El Sheikh six months to obtain green certification. The United Nations Development Program has signed an agreement to support Egypt with a fund of 6.2 million dollars to turn Sharm El-Sheikh into a green city.

With around 25,000 rooms under management, Accor is projected to be the largest operator of hotel rooms in the UAE by 2030, according to property consultant Knight Frank. The group would also be enjoying this position in Saudi Arabia. In its latest earnings call, Accor said revenue per available room (RevPAR) in the third quarter in the India Middle East and Africa region was up 68 percent from 2019. The United Arab Emirates was up 17 percent in the third quarter quarter and Accor projected that performance would continue to improve in the fourth quarter following the World Cup in Qatar.

Turkey hosted a total of 40.25 million visitors in the first nine months of the year as foreign tourist arrivals between January and September surged 98 percent, compared to 2021. The country’s tourism receipts in the third quarter rose 27 percent from a year earlier to $17.95 billion, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute. Turkish expatriates accounted for 14.3 percent of income. Turkey revised its year-end target for foreign tourist arrivals to 47 million and tourism receipts to $37 billion.

Developer Marjan, based in the United Arab Emirates will be debuting in Ras Al Khaimah with the opening of Rove Al Marjan Lifestyle Beach Resort in 2024. Marjan announced that construction has begun on the 441-key beach resort that is said to offer “uncomplicated and uplifting experiences for the new generation of value-conscious leisure travelers.” Calling Ras Al Khaimah one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the region, Abdulla Al Abdouli, CEO of Marjan, said: “There is an opportunity to expand the horizon of the emirate’s lifestyle hotel market and cater to the growing segment of value conscious travelers.”

Jazeera Airways, low cost airline based in Kuwait plan to receive up to $2 billion from commercial banks to finance 70 percent of a deal it has with Airbus for 28 A320neo aircraft, its president told Reuters on Monday. The airline’s 2021 order book with Airbus of 20 A320neos and 8 A321neos is valued at $3.4 billion. Last month, the airline took delivery of its 10th and 11th Airbus A320neo aircraft, bringing the airline’s fleet from 7 in 2018 to a total of 19. Jazeera became the first airline in the Middle East to operate the A320neo. The airline plans to further expand into Central Asia and Saudi Arabia, according to a Bloomberg report. The airline is already one of the largest foreign airlines in Saudi Arabia in terms of frequencies.

Set to release his travel superapp next year, Musafir.com online travel agency based in the United Arab Emirates will open its Technology and Innovation Center in the Indian city of Pune. The company also set up a center in the United Arab Emirates this year. The centers allow the company to accelerate its digital transformation and expansion into multiple markets, said Sachin Gadoya, co-founder and CEO of Musafir.com. The creation of the centers is in line with Musafir.com’s strategy of leveraging technology to drive its growth. “It will act as a catalyst for the development of cutting-edge travel technology solutions that redefine the customer experience, such as the travel superapp, which will be launched next year,” a company statement said. In a bid to capitalize on the travel demand coming to Qatar, Musafir.com has also set up a new office in Doha.

Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the first low-cost airline in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, marked the inauguration of its I fly to Kuwait on Monday. The airline also announced on Sunday the launch of its new route from Abu Dhabi to Beirut in Lebanon. With the addition of the route to Kuwait, Air Arabia Abu Dhabi now operates 28 routes to Lebanon, Egypt, Bahrain, Azerbaijan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Nepal, Sudan, Pakistan, Oman, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia.


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