Skift Breaking News Blog

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

Tourism

UAE Boosts Tourism Returns to $5 Billion in First Half of 2022

2 weeks ago

The tourism revenue of the United Arab Emirates surpassed $5 billion in the first half of this year, compared to $3 billion in the same period last year. The number of hotel guests that the country received rose to 12 million — registering a 42 percent year-on-year growth. 

The country expects a stronger performance this winter as scores of football fans would be flocking the region to catch the Federation Internationale de Football Association World Cup being hosted in neighbouring Qatar.

Since Qatar, with its limited accommodation facilities, would be hosting the most geographically-compact world cup in the history of the tournament, the economic impact of the event would also extend to other countries in the Gulf Coooperation Council.

Gulf carriers would also be operating shuttle flights to ferry football fans from neighbouring countries to Doha, the venue for the World Cup between November 21 and December 18.

Dubai airport also reported that it had handled 27.8 million passengers in the first half of this year, up more than 160 percent from the same period last year.

Based on the results of the first half of the year, the airport has readjusted its annual forecast for this year from 58.3 million passengers to 62.4 million.

Over 7 million international visitors visited Dubai during the first half of 2022, registering a 183 percent year-on-year increase, according to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism. In 2021, Dubai received a total of 7.28 million international visitors.

The average hotel occupancy rate in Dubai in the first half of 2022 was 74 percent, 12 percent higher than the rate in the same period last year, which stood at 62 percent.

During the first half of 2022, the average daily rate of hotels in Dubai was $154 while the occupied room nights reached 18.47 million and revenue per available room rose to $147. With this, Dubai has emerged third in the world in terms of revenue per available room, after Paris and New York. 

Airlines

Saudi Arabia’s New Airline Will be Called RIA — Reports

3 weeks ago

Saudi Arabia’s government plans to call its new multi-billion-dollar international airline RIA, according to reports.

The plan is for it to be a premium global superconnector, like Emirates, Qatar and Etihad, as the kingdom continues its ambitious Vision 2030 tourism plan.

It wants to increase the number of air routes from about 100 to 250.

RIA will become Saudi’s second national carrier, based out of Riyadh, with Saudia, which operates from Jeddah, focusing on religious traffic bringing pilgrims to the country’s holy sites, especially during the Hajj pilgrimage.

Budget carriers Flynas and Flyadeal would then concentrate on low-cost domestic and regional travel and near-international routes. It remains unclear if any of the three existing airlines would feed traffic to the new airline.

The kingdom has been working on the launch for the past 12 months, with the new venture backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, the report added.

Saudi Arabia is also making it easier for millions of tourists to enter the kingdom by streamlining and relaxing its visa options for residents from multiple countries. Overall the country wants to target 30 million international transit passengers by 2030, compared to under 4 million currently.

Europe’s Wizz Air will also land in Saudi Arabia this December.

Short-Term Rentals

Sonder to Expand in Dubai With 401-Unit Property

3 months ago

Sonder said it plans to expand in Dubai later this year with the opening of a 401-unit property, Business Bay.

Sonder’s Business Bay, Dubai, complete with front desk in the lobby. Source: Sonder

Unlike some Sonder properties where customer service is solely via text messages, this 35-story building, operated by Sonder and developed by SAAS Properties, has a front desk in the lobby, a swimming pool, gym, and food and beverage facility.

Business Bay, a serviced apartment, would be Sonder’s third location in Dubai, the company said.

Sonder is marketing the property as being appropriate for both business and leisure travelers. It is located in the vicinity of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa.

Tourism

Dubai Attracted 11 Percent More Visitors in March Than Pre-Pandemic

4 months ago

Dubai welcomed 1.78 million international visitors, up 11 percent over pre-pandemic visitation in March 2019. Expo 2022 Dubai, alongside a compelling portfolio of leisure and business events in the first three months of the year, drove the visitation.

The city, part of the United Arab Emirates, had 3.97 million international overnight visitors between January and March 2022, up from 1.27 million visitors for the corresponding period last year.

Dubai also ranked number 1 globally in hotel occupancy in the first quarter of 2022, at 82 percent, according to data from Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.

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