Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Ideas

IDEAS: Experience Abu Dhabi Encourages Visitors to ‘Find Your Pace’ with New Global Campaign

2 months ago

Experience Abu Dhabi has launched a new global campaign titled ‘Find Your Pace’, with the aim of inspiring curiosity ‘for every type of traveller.’

Credit: Experience Abu Dhabi

The campaign video follows four characters as they explore Abu Dhabi for the first time, with destinations featured in the campaign including Al Ain Oasis, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Louvre Abu Dhabi, and the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes.

You can take a look at the video below:


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Hotels

IDEAS: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi Launches Sustainable Art Awareness Project

4 months ago

A new exhibition featuring sustainable art will be opening at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island, thanks to a new collaboration between the hotel, Artbooth Gallery, and a local artist. 

The public space at the Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island where the sustainable art will be displayed.
Credit: Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island

The ‘Sustainable Art Awareness Project’ features the works of Lebanese-born Emirati artist Noura Ali Ramahi, and has been designed to support local artists who embrace sustainable art practices. 

The exhibition will be on display within the public areas of the hotel through November 30, with a special event with the artist taking place on November 13 to coincide with World Kindness Day.

According to a release, Ramahi’s commitment to eco-friendly art mediums dates back to 2018, and sees her draw inspiration from her daily routine. However it is her use of everyday materials – such as wax paper from cheese, cardboard from packages, or retail paper bags – that give her work real impact.

“At Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, we are strongly committed to sustainability and run several ESG initiatives. As a part of our work with community, the artworks of local talents and artisans are featured throughout the Hotel, including more than 2,000 pieces displayed in public areas and in each guest room and suite. On this World Kindness Day, in collaboration with Noura Ali Ramahi we would like to inspire our guests to make a positive impact on our planet. Through Noura’s innovative use of materials and her profound message of kindness towards nature, she inspires us all to make a difference.” says Bob Suri, general manager, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island.


Skift Ideas uncovers the most creative and forward-thinking innovations happening across travel. We celebrate innovation through our Skift IDEA Awards and hear from leaders on our Ideas podcast.

You can listen and subscribe to the Skift Ideas Podcast through your favorite podcast app here.

Tourism

Dubai Scraps 30 Percent Tax on Alcohol to Woo More Tourists

1 year ago

In a further liberalization of regulations to attract more tourists, Dubai has scrapped the 30 percent municipality tax on alcohol.

Also, tourists and expats will no longer need to pay a fee to secure a personal liquor license to purchase alcoholic beverages. However, an Emirates ID, or passport for tourists, will still be required.

However, all alcohol sales will continue to attract a 5 percent value-added tax. Also, the United Arab Emirates will be introducing a 9 percent federal corporate tax from June.

The scrapping of the alcohol tax is said to be in place for a trial period of one year, until December 31, 2023, according to local media.

Dubai is looking to position itself as a leading tourism destination in the Middle East in the face of increasing competition from destinations like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that are also looking at tourism as key to diversifying the economy.

Last month, United Arab Emirates launched a national tourism strategy that intends to attract 40 million hotel guests by 2031.

The change that came into effect from Sunday, was confirmed by Maritime and Mercantile International, one of the biggest alcohol retailers in the United Arab Emirates and a subsidiary of the state-owned Emirates Group.

Calling the emirate’s approach dynamic, sensitive, and inclusive, Maritime and Mercantile International, stated, “These recently updated regulations are instrumental to continue ensuring the safe and responsible purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages in Dubai as well as boost the dynamic hospitality industry.”

The alcohol retailer also confirmed that prices in its 21 stores across Dubai have decreased by 30 percent.

The legal age for alcohol consumption in the United Arab Emirates is 21 years and above, and alcohol can only be consumed privately or in licenced public places.

Dubai has been progressively updating its restrictions on alcohol sale and consumption, allowing the sale of alcohol in daylight during the holy month of Ramadan and approving home delivery of alcoholic beverages during the Covid lockdown.

In September 2020, Abu Dhabi had announced that residents as well as tourists would be allowed to buy and possess alcohol from shops and consume it within hotels, clubs and other outlets without having to purchase a special licence.

Airlines

Etihad Airways Names Former TAP Chief as Its New CEO

1 year ago

Abu Dhabi-based carrier Etihad Airways has got the former boss of Portugal’s national carrier TAP, Antonoaldo Neves, as its new CEO.

Etihad’s earlier boss Tony Douglas had agreed to join RIA — Saudi Arabia’s newest airline. Earlier reports had suggested that global consulting firm Korn Ferry had been looking to find a replacement for Douglas.

Neves’ appointment news comes a day after reports of the Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs transferring full ownership of Etihad Aviation Group to ADQ, an Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company.

“The transfer complements ADQ’s efforts to realize Abu Dhabi’s vision to strengthen the emirate’s position as a global aviation hub  delivering integrated and competitive aviation services,” a release from the investement company stated on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Etihad Aviation Group’s ancillary businesses were transitioned into ADQ to create a new integrated aviation support services company.

After the privatisation of TAP in 2015, the airline was renationalized during Covid. As a result of the exit of private shareholder David Neeleman, Neves’ stint with the Portugese carrier came to an end in September 2020.

Soon after his exit from TAP, Neves went on to launch a startup — P2D Travel, which Neves himself describes as “a platform to empower anyone to earn money by selling travel on social networks.”

In August 2021 it had been reported that his startup had received an investment from Point Break Capital, which valued the company at over $12.7 million.

Tourism

World Cup Boosts Flight Bookings to Qatar and Gulf Nations

1 year ago

Despite the requirement to present a negative Covid-19 test to enter Qatar, flight bookings to the country for travel during FIFA World Cup — between November 14 and December 24 — have witnessed a massive boom, according to ForwardKeys’ data based on issued flight tickets, including day trips.

The flight bookings to Qatar from countries, including United Arab Emirates (UAE), Spain, Japan France and the U.S., are currently ten times the volume of pre-pandemic levels, according to data analytics firm ForwardKeys. 

The strongest-performing market during the World Cup period is United Arab Emirates, where bookings are currently ahead 103 times compared to 2016. The benchmark period for United Arab Emirates is 2016 as the Qatar diplomatic crisis stopped direct flights between Qatar and the UAE between 2017 and 2021.

Bookings from Mexico have gone up 79 times compared to 2019, while bookings from Argentina are up 77 times. The bookings from Spain and Japan have gone up 53 times and 46 times respectively.

The shortage of accommodation in Qatar and the availability of shuttle flights from cities in the United Arab Emirates will allow many people to stay in the UAE and fly over for on match days. The flight time between Dubai and Doha is a little over 60 minutes.

The UAE’s hospitality market is set to expand by 25 percent by 2030, with a further 48,000 rooms adding to the nation’s extensive 200,000 key portfolio, global consultancy firm Knight Frank noted in Sepetember.

Dubai is set to account for the lion’s share of this total, with 76 percent of all new rooms coming to the emirate, which already has over 130,000 rooms, Knight Frank fother observed.

Currently, day trips account for 4 percent of all arrivals in Qatar during the World Cup, 85 percent of which originate in the UAE.

The World Cup is set to benefit the whole Gulf region, as flight bookings to countries in the region during the competition are currently 16 percent ahead compared to 2019, and, for the initial stages of the tournament 61 percent ahead.

Many World Cup visitors would also be travelling to other destinations in the region as the number of visitors staying at least two nights in Qatar and going on to stay at least two more nights in another Gulf country is sixteen times greater than it was before the pandemic.

Set to capture 65 percent onward visits, Dubai is the biggest beneficiary of this trend by far, followed by Abu Dhabi with 14 percent and Jeddah would be capturing 8 percent of these visits.

U.S. travelers make up 26 percent of the “regional tourists,” followed by travelers from Canada at 10 percent and British tourists at 9 percent. Around 32 percent of travelers coming in to Dubai would be from the U.S.

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most attractive drivers of travel there is, so much so, that other destinations in the Gulf will benefit, not just the host nation, Qatar.

In tourism promotion terms, the World Cup will throw a media spotlight on Qatar and help it become a more established destination, and not just a major hub for intercontinental air traffic.

“Normally, just 3 percent of travel to Doha is destined to stay in the country; and 97 percent comprises onward connections. However, during the World Cup almost 27 percent has Qatar as the ultimate destination,” said Olivier Ponti, VP Insights of ForwardKeys.

Ponti said that the UAE would also benefit substantially from the tournament because it has much more hotel accommodation than Qatar, and two global hub airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.