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The Middle Eastern nations realize that for tourism to flourish restrictions would need to be eased.

Series: Middle East Travel Roundup

Middle East Travel Roundup

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The United Arab Emirates government on Sunday announced the lifting of all precautionary measures implemented in the country during Covid-19. With the lifting of restrictions, wearing of masks has now been made optional in all open and closed facilities, including places of worship and mosques. However, those categorized as “people of determination” would be required to wear mask while visiting health facilities and centers. The Al Hosn app would now only be required to furnish proof of vaccination and for test results inside and outside the country, when required. The green pass on the app would no longer be required to enter public facilities and sites. The requirement of a polymerase chain reaction test would also no longer be made mandatory for those attending or participating at sporting events. The authorities said they have decided to ease the restrictions after studying the epidemiological situation in the country and having monitored occupancy rates in hospitals and intensive care for Covid cases.

A World Cup match ticket would no longer be necessary to secure entry into Qatar from December 2. However, visitors would still need to apply for and carry Hayya Card before traveling to Qatar. The Hayya Card is an ID that serves as an entry permit to Qatar and also provides stadium access along with the match tickets.

Tourism development company DM Development signed a memorandum of understanding with German integrated property management provider Apleona, to establish the first destination for recreational health tourism in Egypt and the Middle East atAin Sokhna Al Galala. With investments estimated at $12 million, the health destination will be located in the retail area in The Groove Sokhna Resort and will come with a private hotel attached to it. The project targets to attract around 29,000 tourists annually, in addition to providing over 1,000 job opportunities in tourism and services. Through this partnership, DM Development seeks to foster Egypt’s economic growth and attract a new category of holidaymakers who aim at recreational tourism by providing specialized health and entertainment services, a statement from the company read.

UAE flag carrier Etihad Airways has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cepsa – one of the main producers and suppliers of aviation fuels in the Spanish market – to accelerate the decarbonization of air transport by researching and producing sustainable aviation fuels (SAF). Both companies prioritise the development of sustainable fuels as a tool to further reduce the carbon footprint of air transport and contribute to the goals of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the fight against climate change. The fuels will be produced from circular raw materials that do not compete with food resources, such as used cooking oils, non-food animal waste or biodegradable waste from various industries, and will make it possible to reduce aircraft emissions by up to 80 percent compared to conventional kerosene. The partnership will also work on the development of new energy alternatives such as renewable hydrogen and the electrification of Etihad’s ground fleets, which include supply vehicles, baggage loading and unloading operations and aircraft assistance.

Tomorrowland’s desert destination Terra Solis Dubai is slated to open this month in the Dubai Heritage Vision. Nestled between the Arabian dunes and inspired by the star constellations, Terra Solis Dubai is said to feature a collection of three accommodation options, all named after stars, meteor showers and constellations Spread over 371,000 square meter, the destination will also offer several glamping options. Calling it “a one-of-a-kind desert destination away from all the noise, Nicolas Vandenabeele, founder of Terra Solis Dubai, said, “It is inspired by the magic of Tomorrowland and the most beautiful star constellations.”

Travel and tourism experts from across the Middle East discussed the challenges and opportunities that sustainable strategies must address, during the final Arabian Travel Market Advisory Board meeting. Representatives from tourism boards, hospitality groups, travel technology units and aviation groups joined Reeds Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Mart, for the discussion. The insights provided during the meeting would help the organisers of the Arabian Travel Mart to ensure that the 30th edition of the show is the most sustainable yet, said Danielle Curtis, exhibition director of the mart. Scheduled to take place at the Dubai World Trade Center from May 1 to 4, the theme for ATM 2023 will be Working Towards Net Zero. “To bring the sustainable theme of ATM 2023 to life, we are working closely with our exhibitors and partners to help catalyze sustainable change within the Middle East travel and tourism sector,” said Curtis.

Turkey has once again revised its tourist arrival and tourism revenue targets for 2022 upward to 50 million and $44 billion, respectively, Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the culture and tourism minister announced. At the beginning of the year, the country had set its targets at 42 million tourists and $34 billion tourism revenue. This was then revised to 47 million foreign tourist arrivals and tourism revenues worth $37 billion. October’s strong tourism activity is expected to further push the country closer towards pre-pandemic figures. In 2019, Turkey had welcomed 51.7 million visitors and generated $34.5 billion in tourism revenues.

Dubai-based Emirates Airline, has again suspended flight operations to Nigeria over blocked funds. The airline had earlier suspended its Nigeria operations in August over the inability to repatriate $85 million in revenue. Barely seven weeks after restarting operations, the airline in a statement said that the flights had to be suspended under “extraordinary circumstances” to mitigate against further losses.The airline said it has communicated its position to the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). “Without the timely repatriation of the funds and a mechanism in place to ensure that future repatriation of Emirates’ funds do not accumulate in any way, the backlog will continue to grow, and we simply cannot meet our operational costs nor maintain the commercial viability of our operations in Nigeria,” the airline said.

Abu Dhabi Tourism has unveiled its latest brand campaignExperience Abu Dhabi. Find Your Pace – encouraging the world to enjoy Abu Dhabi’s enriching experiences at their own pace. “With so many experiences that inspire, excite and restore, there is something for everyone in Abu Dhabi and so much waiting to be discovered, at your own pace,” read a press statement from Abu Dhabi Tourism. Showcasing the offerings that the emirate has to offer from cultural heritage to exciting experiences, the campaign invites travelers to indulge in a variety of memorable, enriching experiences, available round the year. “Emirati hospitality is at the heart of every moment that matters – a living culture that leaves visitors with a home-away-from-home feeling,” read the press statement.

Bahrain International Airport expects to welcome nine million passengers by the end of 2023, signalling an almost complete recovery from Covid-19. The airport also expects the 2022 numbers to touch approximately 6.5 million passengers. After losing more than 75 percent of its usual traffic in 2020 due to the Covid-19, the airport witnessed a recovery in 2021, and during the first half of 2022 almost three million passengers had travelled through the airport.Having launched a new terminal in 2021, the airport now has a capacity of more than 14 million passengers and 130,000 air traffic movements per year.

Dubai’s Atlantis The Royal has now started accepting guest bookings for stays from 2023 onwards. The 43-storeyed 795-room ultra-luxurious resort includes 44 suites with their own private infinity pools, an infinity pool on the 22nd floor offering views of the Palm Island, the largest jellyfish aquarium in the world, a water fountain show, and a collection of celebrity chef restaurants and bars. Guests staying at the suites or the signature penthouse will be able to enjoy a dedicated butler service. Before opening to guests, Atlantis The Royal will hold a grand reveal in January with a star-studded line up in attendance.

As the Middle East becomes a market of focus for Hungary, Visit Hungary is launching a wide-scale communication campaign to promote the country’s attractions in the region. Visitor arrivals from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to Hungary are set to be the best on record in 2022. Visit Hungary has also appointed AVIAREPS as its representative office in the Gulf countries to further promote Hungary as an idyllic winter wonderland destination to Middle East travellers. The quick return and expansion of direct flight access from the region to Hungary, along with the positive momentum achieved through its proactive activations carried out during Dubai Expo 2020, has contributed to this increase in visitor arrivals from the region, Vitalij Izbriszov, regional head of business development for Visit Hungary said.


Middle East Travel Roundup

Get the latest news from the Middle East in one easy-to-digest newsletter.


Middle East Travel Roundup

Get the latest news from the Middle East in one easy-to-digest newsletter.

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Tags: abu dhabi, atlantis, dubai, egypt, emirates air, Etihad Airways, middle east newsletter, qatar, saudi arabia, Skift Pro Columns, turkey

Photo credit: The Abu Dhabi skyline. Danor Aharon / pixabay

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