Over the last 12 months, Amadeus, a global leader in travel technology, commissioned three global traveler surveys to understand traveler sentiment during these unique times. The appetite for travel in 2022 is high but clear guidelines are necessary.
- 73% of UAE travelers are eager to travel and hope to do so in the next year, with 59% expecting to travel for business to a destination requiring a flight later this year.
- Traveling within the Middle East is the top destination for both UAE business and leisure travelers (51% and 47%) with over a quarter (26%) expecting to take two trips in the next year.
- Outside of the Middle East, Asia (38% and 52%), and Europe (35% and 49%) are the next popular destinations for UAE business and leisure travelers.
- 31% of travelers agree that the current international restrictions and guidelines on travel are confusing and unclear, making them less likely to book travel.
- Travelers are willing to share health data to get traveling again and 95% of UAE travelers would be willing to provide personal information and health data for the effective use of digital health passports.
Travel concerns in light of COVID-19
- The biggest concern for UAE travelers is fears of catching COVID-19 while traveling (45%), followed by self-isolation before and after travel (42%) and changing restrictions resulting in last-minute cancellations (39%).
- People who travel for business are likely to be more concerned about increased queues while traveling (33% vs 28% for leisure) and requirements of proof of vaccination (25% vs 19% for leisure).
The technologies that would increase confidence in travel among UAE respondents
- Self-service check-in (49%), mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications and alerts (48%), and mobile boarding (44%) are the most popular technologies that UAE respondents noted would increase their confidence to travel in the next 12 months.
- Business travelers are more likely to prefer mobile applications that provide on-trip notifications (50% vs 47% for leisure).
When it comes to the concerns around traveling in light of COVID-19, Amadeus has seen an increase in anxiety around last-minute cancellations, refunds, and growing demand for apps or solutions where digital health data and travel information can be stored in one place. The survey shows a willingness to use technology to help combat these concerns.
97% of travelers now say that technology will increase their confidence to travel, up from 91% in February 2021 and 84% in September 2020, showing a growing sense of traveler confidence in technology.
Commenting on the aviation industry, André Martins, Partner, Oliver Wyman, said: “The global aviation industry will be back to its 2019 levels by the end of 2023, with a faster recovery in North/Central/South America and with the South Pacific, the Middle East and Africa lagging further behind. The industry needs to focus on doubling down the efforts on digital and automation.”
“In the regional market, Oliver Wyman expects in the short-term strong demand for the UAE and Qatar markets driven by the Expo 2020 and the FIFA World Cup. Furthermore, we should expect an intensification of the regional competition given new potential airlines, the need to revisit the business model of some of the airlines and airports, and the need to successfully transform some of the carriers in the region into more agile organizations.”
Speaking of Qatar, the European Union (EU) and Qatar signed an agreement on aviation on October 18, 2021, the European Commission announced.
The new pact between the bloc and Qatar simplifies the already existing system of bilateral agreements between EU member states and the country and adds a clear regulatory framework and important provisions on competition.
“This agreement, the first one between the EU and the Gulf region, is a global benchmark for forward-looking aviation agreements,” EU Commissioner for Transport Adina Valean said.
“This agreement will bring new opportunities, more choice, and higher standards for passengers, industry, and aviation workers.”
From now on, EU airlines will be able to operate direct flights to Qatar from any airport of the bloc and Qatari airlines can also run direct flights to any European airport.
Following the agreement, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands will gradually open their market for cargo and passenger flights from Qatar. In 2019, 6.3 million people traveled between the EU and Qatar.