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Private travel on the rebound, spurred on by ‘Vaccine Vacations’

Luxury travelers are hopeful that 2021 will offer more destinations for them to explore, and getting a private vaccination in Dubai is one of them

86.5% of businesses will collaborate with hotels, tour designers, private aviation, yachts, chauffeur, and concierge services 1st class or private jet flights accommodation for up to a 1 month vaccine vacation can cost around $55,000 Private jet movement at Dubai South grew by 21% year-over-year in 2020, with a 78% growth in traffic in Q4 2020

New research from VistaJet, a global business aviation company, titled ‘The Future of Private Travel’, said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has been severe for many international luxury travel and hospitality businesses, with over three-quarters (77.8%) of businesses experiencing net revenue fall by at least 60% year-on-year, and around 43% seeing a drop of over 90%. 

However, according to the report, 25.9% are optimistic and are starting to refocus their offering onto a high net worth (HNW) target group, predicting a rapid recovery to pre-pandemic levels.   

Partnerships are key

95% of businesses are already innovating to rethink their operational and commercial strategies and planning action to innovate their customer service and experience protocols.

62.3% of businesses have already introduced new offerings, products, or services, with increased digital services and more personalized concierge offerings being particularly in-demand. 

86.5% of businesses are taking action to collaborate with other top players within the industry, including hotels, tour designers, private aviation, yachts, chauffeur, and concierge services. 

Additionally, 46.8% have said that partnerships are already helping to generate further revenue during the pandemic and 70% are looking to establish new partnerships within the next 12 months.

Can’t get any worse than 2020

A surge in travel bookings is expected for later this year and for 2022, after a dismal 2020.

Last year was the worst year in history for air travel demand, according to the International Air Transport Association, with global passenger traffic falling more than 65%, compared to 2019. The hotel industry also tanked, surpassing 1 billion unsold room nights, according to hotel industry research firm STR. The story was much the same for cruises, attractions and tours, with the World Tourism Organization calling 2020 the worst year on record.

Most travel companies now have flexible and more generous booking and cancellation policies, and prices are historically low. So, it can be a good time to book future trips.

Read: Troubles atop UAE skies

Read: 46% of Middle East luxury travellers plan to holiday abroad in 2021, says YouGov survey

Private COVID-19 vaccination vacations

With the whole world trying to get their hands on a limited supply of vaccinations, one of the most frequently asked questions is, “how do I get a Covid-19 vaccination privately?” 

In the UK you can’t. The U.K. government has been unequivocal that private vaccinations will not be available until all the vulnerable categories of people in the U.K. have been inoculated, and supplies are plentiful.

This has led to one company’s move to start offering “vaccination vacations” to an elite group of the super-rich in the U.K. The UAE is one of the world’s leading countries in terms of the number of vaccinations achieved per person. As of 16 January, the government had supplied 18.18 doses per 100 residents of the UAE, according to Our World in Data. 

The country is offering free Covid-19 vaccinations to all citizens and residents but has now also started to allow private appointments.

The U.K. is currently under lockdown, and holidays of any kind are also forbidden, but it is allowed to leave your home to receive medical treatment, including vaccinations.   

A package is being offered by Knightsbridge Circle, a $35,000-a-year private members club, for those who can afford it. The trip can include first-class or private jet flights, accommodation for up to one month while you wait for your second dose, and a private vaccination. Trips can cost around $55,000. Currently, the options on offer are either Dubai, which now has private appointments for the Pfizer jab or the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in India. 

Stuart McNeill, Founder of Knightsbridge Circle, said: “For two weeks, we’ve been offering the vaccine to clients who are based in or are currently working in the UAE, and 25% of our clients have used the service so far. Knightsbridge Circle’s clients are based all over the globe, with 40% currently living in the UK.”

Private jet business in Dubai

Mohammed bin Rashid Aerospace Hub (MBRAH) at Dubai South on Sunday said that private jet movement grew by 21% year-over-year in 2020.

The aerospace hub saw a 78% growth in traffic in Q4 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.

Tahnoon Saif, Chief Executive Officer of Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub said: “This exceptional performance is due to, among many reasons, Dubai’s status as a preferred destination for tourists, associated with the launch of the World’s Coolest Winter campaign, and the UAE ranking among the top countries in the world in efficiently handling the COVID-19 pandemic,” 

MBRAH is a free-zone destination for airlines, private jet companies, and associated industries.