Global Air Cargo Declines By 14.9% In January As Africa Records 9.5% Reduction

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in its report has disclosed that global air demand measured in Cargo Tonne-Kilometers (CTKs), slumped by 14.9 per cent in January 2023, when compared to the same period in 2022.

The association also said that the cargo volume declined among African airlines by 9.5 per cent within the same period.

According to IATA, global demand, fell 14.9 per compared to January 2022 (-16.2 per cent for international operations)

Capacity measured in available Cargo Tonne-Kilometers, (CTK) was up 3.9 per cent compared to January 2022.

This was the first year-on-year growth in capacity since October 2022. 

International cargo capacity increased 1.4 per cent, compared to January, 2022. 

The uptick in ACTKs reflects the strong recovery of belly capacity in passenger airline markets offsetting a decline international capacity offered by dedicated freighters. 

The global new export orders component of the manufacturing PMI, a leading indicator of cargo demand, increased in January for the first time since October 2022.

For major economies, new export orders are growing, and in China and the US, PMI levels are close to the critical 50-mark, indicating that demand for manufactured goods from the world’s two largest economies is stabilising.

Global goods trade decreased by 3 per cent in December, this was the second monthly decline in a row.

The Consumer Price Index for G7 countries decreased from 7.4 per cent in November to 6.7 per cent in January. Inflation in producer (input) prices reduced by 2.2 percentage points to 9.6 per cent in December. 

”With January cargo demand down 14.9 per cent and capacity up 3.9 per cent, 2023 began under some challenging business conditions. That was accompanied by persistent uncertainties, including war in Ukraine, inflation, and labor shortages. But there is solid ground for some cautious optimism about air cargo. 

“Yields remain higher than pre-pandemic. And China’s much faster than expected shift from its zero COVID policy is stabilising production conditions in air cargo’s largest source market. That will give a much-needed demand boost as companies increase their engagement with China,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director-General.

Asia-Pacific airlines saw their air cargo volumes decrease by 19 per cent in January 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. 

This was an improvement in performance compared to December (-21.2 per cent).

Airlines in the region continued to be impacted by lower levels of trade and manufacturing activity and disruptions in supply chains due to the residual effects of COVID restrictions that were imposed by China. 

Additionally, the positioning of the Lunar New Year would have impacted cargo volumes in January. Available capacity in the region increased by 8.8 per cent compared to January 2022.

North American carriers posted an 8.7 per cent decrease in cargo volumes in January 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. 

This was a slight decrease in performance compared to December (-8.5 per cent). Capacity increased 2.3 per cent compared to January 2022.

European carriers saw the weakest performance of all regions with a 20.4 per cent decrease in cargo volumes in January 2023 compared to the same month in 2022. 

This was a decrease in performance compared to December (-19.4 per cent). Airlines in the region continue to be most affected by the war in Ukraine. 

Capacity decreased 9.3 per cent in January 2023 compared to January 2022.

Middle Eastern carriers experienced 11.8 per cent year-on-year decrease in cargo volumes in January 2023. This was an improvement to the previous month (-14.4 per cent).

Capacity increased 9.6 per cent compared to January 2022.

Source: Independent

Air Mauritius eyes A321neo, grows fleet with A330-200s

Air Mauritius (MK, Mauritius) is considering the acquisition of an A321-200N to serve Rodrigues Island once the airstrip on the island has been sufficiently extended and once the airline grows its fleet with the expected arrival next month of two A330-200s on a three-year lease from Carlyle Aviation Partners for use on medium-haul destinations, including a new twice-weekly service to Delhi International in India from May 3.

The A330s will also be deployed on existing routes to St. Denis de la Réunion and to Antananarivo, Madagascar, Mauritius’ Defi Media reported. The widebodies would allow Air Mauritius to offer more frequencies and help it adapt its fleet to market and passenger needs.

According to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module, the aircraft are the 254-seater VP-CPJ (msn 751) and VP-CPQ (msn 807) previously flown by Fiji Airways (FJ, Nadi). Delivery has been delayed since the end of 2022. The airline also has an outstanding order for two A350-900s (registration number unknown), according to ch-aviation fleets advanced data.

The expected arrival of the two new A330s will bring the number of aircraft in the fleet to 11. This includes two A330-900Ns from Air Lease Corporation; four A350-900s (two leased from AerCap, one leased from Tokyo Century, and one-inhouse aircraft); and three owned ATR72-500s.

Air Mauritius’ new chief executive, Kresimir Kucko, was not immediately available for more information on the A321neo plans. The aircraft type is classified as suitable for Code 4C category airports as defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), requiring runways that are 1,800 metres or longer. The present runway at Rodigues measures 1,287 metres, according to the ch-aviation PRO airports module.

Since its return to service at the end of 2021 after 18 months of voluntary administration to avoid liquidation, Air Mauritius has gradually resumed operations with flights showing satisfactory load factors on most routes, the report said.

Source: Ch-Aviation

Aviation Stakeholders to Contribute to Industry Policy Formulation

The Kenya Association of Air Operators (KAAO) Executive Committee hosted the Cabinet Secretary State Department of Transport and Roads Hon. Kipchumba Murkomen and Permanent Secretary Mohammed Daghar to deliberate on improving the partnership between Government and the private sector.

The meeting agreed on the need for industry input in major policy decisions affecting the sector to ensure there is a win-win outcome that supports growth and eliminates challenges bedeviling the industry.

This includes the involvement of the association in the development of the National Aviation Policy which is set to set the tone for Kenya as an integrated aviation hub to cater for all operators in the region including commercial/private/recreational air operators, approved training organizations (ATOs), approved maintenance organizations (AMOs), hot air balloon operators, and remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) operators.

“The aviation industry has immense potential which, if exhaustively harnessed, will make Kenya an aviation hub and a force in the global market. We particularly recognize the important role the aviation sector plays in the tourism and horticulture sectors hence the need for an all stakeholder-led approach in policy making and infrastructure development prioritization,” CS Murkomen said in response to issues raised by KAAO.

KAAO also reiterated that the increasing number of taxes is negatively impacting the aviation sector in Kenya with the country standing out as the only State regionally and globally levying several taxes on aircraft, spare parts, and aviation fuel. According to KAAO Chief Executive Officer Liz Aluvanze such measures were making the local industry uncompetitive and unsustainable amid a surge in global and regional competition.

“This has led to a worrying decline in the development and growth of the sector resulting in job losses, migration of maintenance activities to neighbouring states, a decline of Kenya as a regional hub and overall decrease in revenue for the operators and government.”

KAAO also proposed that the government should prioritise the development of strategic airports and aerodromes based on demand and revenue generation channels to make them sustainable.

The industry lobby group also called for improvement of infrastructure in airports around the country including expansion of runways to ease congestion, new terminal buildings, reconstruction of pavements and aeronautical ground lighting, and development of parking silos and business parks. KAAO says this will help secure existing businesses and enable them to grow further,

“We are glad that we have open communication channels between KAAO and the Government. We purpose to cultivate a symbiotic relationship in order to achieve a safe, efficient, sustainable, and economically viable aviation industry,” She added.

Source: Africa Science News

Experts Raise Concern Over Foreign Airlines’ Inability to Repatriate Funds From Nigeria

Besides charging Nigerian air travellers exorbitant fares, aviation experts have raised concern over foreign airlines’ inability to repatriate trapped funds in Nigeria, insisting that Nigeria has become a country with the highest amount of foreign airlines’ trapped funds while highlighting its implications.

The implications according to them include the designation of Nigeria as a high-risk country in doing businesses related to aviation; the increase in insurance premium due to country risk and also the reluctance of lessors to lease aircraft to Nigerian carriers or to do so at very high cost.

Experts believe Nigeria having the highest amount of the trapped airlines’ funds is not good for the country because of the perception of Nigeria in global aviation industry.

Speaking, the Managing Director and CEO of Aero Contractors, Captain Ado Sanusi told THISDAY that said that the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility owned by Aero Contractors, benefit from credit guarantee extended to MROs by suppliers, but explained that this might be suspended because of the rising amount of trapped airlines’ funds in Nigeria.

He noted that in global reckoning, the policy or action taken by a country influences how the companies in that country are treated.

He said no matter the goodwill enjoyed by a Nigerian company, international financiers, lessors and aircraft insurers like Lloyd, may not deal with any company in Nigeria without considering policies and actions taken by the Nigerian government.

“This is why the designation of a country determines how airlines in that country are dealt with. If a country is designated as high risk, it influences the way companies in the country are perceived and related with. So if the trapped funds are not remitted to the airlines and the funds keep piling up, it is not good for the country.

“It will affect Nigerian airlines when they want to lease aircraft. Some lessors may not want to deal with the airlines because of country risk. They may ask the airline to pay almost two times what an airline in another county will pay for similar leasing arrangement. We have what we call consumables in aircraft maintenance. Suppliers give MROs credit facility up to $300, 000 to $400, 000 but when the look at Nigeria and they see the piling airline debts, they may decide not to extend the guarantee to Nigeria. They will term Nigeria a high-risk country, so they won’t give us credit facility,” Sanusi said.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday disclosed that the trapped funds belonging to foreign airlines operating in Nigeria had reached $734,721,097 from $662 million in January 2023.

IATA disclosed this in a letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, and signed by the Area Manager West and Central Africa, Dr Samson Fatokun.

Nigeria has remained the country with the highest amount of trapped airlines’ funds and in December last year, IATA published the countries with the highest trapped funds as follows: Nigeria: $551 million, Pakistan: $225 million, Bangladesh: $208 million, Lebanon: $144 million and Algeria: $140 million.

IATA had warned that the amount of airline funds for repatriation being blocked by governments had risen by more than 25% ($394 million) in the last six months and disclosed that total funds blocked then tallied at close to $2.0 billion.

It therefore called on governments to remove all barriers to airlines repatriating their revenues from ticket sales and other activities, in line with international agreements and treaty obligations.

IATA is also renewing its calls on Venezuela to settle the $3.8 billion of airline funds that have been blocked from repatriation since 2016 when the last authorization for limited repatriation of funds was allowed by the Venezuelan government.

IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said: “Preventing airlines from repatriating funds may appear to be an easy way to shore up depleted treasuries, but ultimately the local economy will pay a high price. No business can sustain providing service if they cannot get paid and this is no different for airlines. Air links are a vital economic catalyst. Enabling the efficient repatriation of revenues is a critical for any economy to remain globally connected to markets and supply chains.”

IATA also disclosed that airline funds were being blocked from repatriation in more than 27 countries and territories.

On Nigeria, IATA stated that the total airline funds blocked from repatriation in Nigeria as at December last were $551 million, stating that repatriation issues arose in March 2020 when demand for foreign currency in the country outpaced supply and the country’s banks were not able to service currency repatriations.

But IATA also noted that despite the challenges, Nigerian authorities have been engaged with the airlines and are, together with the industry, working to find measures to release the funds available.

“Nigeria is an example of how government-industry engagement can resolve blocked funds issues. Working with the Nigerian House of Representatives, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Minister of Aviation resulted in the release of $120 million for repatriation with the promise of a further release at the end of 2022. This encouraging progress demonstrates that, even in difficult circumstances, solutions can be found to clear blocked funds and ensure vital connectivity, “said the Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, IATA, Kamil Al-Awadhi.

Foreign airlines now discourage the purchase of tickets in Naira due to the trapped funds and for them to accept Naira as means of payment they up the price of the ticket.

So the foreign airlines have close their low inventory (low fares) and open their high inventory for Nigerians who wish to pay for tickets in Naira, while the low inventory are available in dollars.

Any Nigerian traveller who wishes to buy ticket at low rate, as sold by the airline to other countries, must pay for ticket in dollars; otherwise, an economy return ticket that could be sold for $700.00 could be sold for N2 million.

Source: This Day

Dubai Tourism returns for South Africa roadshow

DUBAI is offering South African travel agents and stakeholders an opportunity to network with stakeholders in the former’s hospitality market.

This is anticipated to improve the officials’ businesses and give them greater openings and opportunities to satisfy their clients.

Dubai’s Department for Economy and Tourism (DET) has returned for its South Africa Roadshow, to be held between Monday (today) and Friday in the cities of Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg.

This year’s roadshow will highlight Dubai’s experiences and diversity of the city’s offerings to key travel partners in South Africa.

Highlights of the road show span across travel, hospitality, entertainment and Dubai’s citywide events, with a focus on leisure, family travel, education and medical tourism.

Key elements of the event will include breakout network sessions, partner presentations, one-on-one meetings and raffle draws.

Some of the organisations in the airlines, hotel and destination management are accompanying DET to South Africa.

DET’s ultimate vision is to position Dubai as the world’s leading commercial centre, investment hub and tourism destination.

Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the capital of the Emirate of Dubai.

– CAJ News

How neigbouring African countries took over Nigeria’s travel business

More Nigerian air travelers are opting to travel to neigbouring countries like Ghana and Cotonou to book international flights after being forced to pay thrice cost of flights in  other countries to same destinations, Daily Sun can confirm.

Fares advertised on the websites of foreign airlines show that Nigerians now pay three times what travelers in other countries pay to the same destinations. Nigerian travelers now pay as high as N3, 000,000.00 to purchase an economy ticket while date changes on some airlines go as high as between N1, 500,000.00 to N1, 800,000.00. For business class tickets, passengers pay about N7 million.

In the past one year, foreign airlines removed lower inventory tickets on their website for travelers from Nigeria because they say they have been unable to repatriate funds generated from sale of tickets deposited in Nigerian banks. These airlines insist on getting their funds in foreign currency but owing to the biting forex scarcity, that has been difficult. They then took the decision to remove lower inventory tickets from their website, making cost of flights expensive for Nigerians.

To combat this, many Nigerian passengers now prefer travelling to countries like Ghana to book tickets at lower costs and this development has almost crippled the Nigerian travel industry leaving many travel agents losing their clients to the high cost of flight tickets.

“To put this in perspective, all low-fare inventories of the airlines have been deliberately blocked to our members and to this market. This now means, Nigeria is at a disadvantage since the airlines seems to have mastered the art of exploiting the forex issue to their advantage. Agencies are now forced to fold, leave the country or trying to use other neighboring countries to sell to their customers. Nigeria Travel market continues to be at the losing end with the airlines being indifferent to the plight of travelers and as a body we are left with no option than to call on the government to be more strategic, deliberate and direct in resolving this multifaceted dilemma.

“Just to be clear, in the aviation downstream sector, businesses are currently folding up and more will follow suit which will add to the unemployment challenge that the Federal Government is wrestling with if urgent and precise actions are not taken to nip this development in the bud before it is too late.

“The reaction of airlines is grossly unfair to the Nigerian travelling public, as well to us as a nation in general with a seeming disdain to the available cordial business relationship. This of course gravely threatens our survival as travel practitioners in Nigeria. The suffocating profiteering practices by majority of the foreign airlines is unbelievable and unexplainable in a Nigeria market that is ranked by many indices of IATA as one of the best in Africa and with the best post-covid recovery rates across Africa and Middle East, the Nigerian Market should be applauded, but the reverse is the case.

“For emphasis, being one of the biggest market for any airline that operates within it, we expect airlines to respect and appreciate the impact of the traffic our market offers and seek better ways to ensure there is mutual benefit in tandem with the current reality.  The trade rules are obnoxious, not consistent with global best practices and fares are unjustifiably high, all in reaction to trapped funds. We at this stage have reasons to believe there is more to it.

“We hold the stand that government still retains the responsibility to commit to agreements with airlines to protect the sector and call airlines to order when there are obvious excesses from the airlines that puts the entire industry in jeopardy; because the current fare structure and practices are exploitative to the Nigerian Traveler as well as agencies who provides a reasonable number of jobs for our great nation.

While stating Nigeria’s commitment to the Bilateral Air Service Agreement, he assured them that the ministry is concerned, and will do its best to resolve the matter of blocked funds as soon as possible.

He stated further that the issue of blocked funds sits with the Central Bank of Nigeria and it is not what the ministry can handle alone else it would have been resolved immediately and urged foreign operators to be very considerate when dealing with the issue bearing in mind the effects of COVID- 19 and recession the country had experienced.

IATA’s Area Manager, West and Central Africa, Dr. Samson Fatokun, who led the delegation expressed gratitude to the minister for his concern and said the global airline community would like to appeal to the him for special intervention in resolving of airline blocked funds issues in Nigeria. He said the airlines are facing the collateral damage and the average Nigeria is bearing the brunt of this issue.

At the meeting, Akporiaye said: “Is a very difficult time for us as some of us are already giving up on the industry and going into other business. It is our loss and also the loss of the country as we don’t sell more ticket like we use to, and this will further increase the unemployment situation if this issue is not attended to.”

Source: The Sun

Middle East Set to Be One of the Fastest-Growing Airline Markets

As “record aircraft deliveries” make headlines in the Middle East and India market, the current supply chain constraints leave us wondering if the aircraft makers would be able to keep pace with the demand.

Despite a sluggish international travel market, the pace of recovery in the Middle East aviation market accelerated throughout 2022 and is expected to take off over the next 10 years with the region’s share of the global fleet set to expand. In its Global Fleet and MRO Market Forecast 2023-2033,” global management consulting firm Oliver Wyman noted that the Middle East remains among the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world, with the regional fleet set to expand 5.1 percent annually over the next decade. The report further noted that the Middle East’s share of global fleet will grow over the decade from 4.9 percent in 2023 to 6 percent in 2033.  Meanwhile, the global fleet is projected to expand one-third by 2033, to well over 36,000 aircraft, with Oliver Wyman also anticipating a record number of aircraft deliveries over the next 10 years (despite current supply chain constraints). The Middle East fleet’s growth over the next decade will primarily be driven by the addition of narrow bodies. Historically, the Middle Eastern fleet has been primarily made up of widebodies. But moving forward, the report observed that narrow bodies will increase to 48 percent of the fleet from 39 percent, while wide bodies will decline to 48 percent from 56 percent.

Highlighting key travel trends to Saudi Arabia for the month coinciding with Ramadan, global travel marketplace Skyscanner noted that travellers from across the Gulf, UK, Egypt and Germany are amongst the most popular making their way to the kingdom during this time. With over 70 percent of travelers looking for trips between one and two-week longJeddah is the airport of choice, accounting for 75 percent of bookings. “As restrictions ease and capacity increases, we are seeing travel demand return to pre-pandemic levels, if not higher,” said Ayoub El Mamoun, Skyscanner travel expert. “Travel remains a key priority, with many travellers across the Gulf, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi, planning the same or more trips in 2023 than they did the year previously.”

Oman welcomed 2.9 million tourists in 2022, a 348 percent increase compared to 2021. The number of tourism projects and hotel establishments also increased relatively. This information was announced by Ibrahim Said Al Kharousi, undersecretary of the ministry of heritage and tourism in Oman. Al Kharosi was speaking at the Global Travel Week Middle East hosted by Oman. Around 200 luxury tourism specialists had participated at the event that sought to introduce tourism hotspots, exchange tourism experiences and reaffirm commitment to support and develop travel and tourism in the region. With the prime aim of showcasing Oman’s tourism potential, Global Travel Week sought ways to establish long-term relations between international markets and Gulf destinations, said Al Kharousi.

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism has announced the relaunch of the Carbon Calculator tool that measures the carbon footprint within Dubai’s hospitality sector. The tool has now been revamped to track real-time data for carbon emission sources, allowing hotels to identify and effectively manage their energy consumption. The improvements are part of the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative that seeks to contribute to the broader clean energy targets and support the United Arab Emirates’ Net Zero by 2050 Strategy, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) 2030. The initiative also supports the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the top three global cities and enhance its position as one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations. Since its inception in January 2017, Dubai Sustainable Tourism’s Carbon Calculator, part of the Tourism Dirham Platform, has been measuring the carbon footprint of hotels across Dubai.

Travel marketing platform Sojern shared its latest data highlighting that the Middle East continues to build on its strong travel momentum even in 2023. With relatively quick bouncebacks from Covid-19 in the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia seeking to secure its place on the tourist map with an ambitious visitor push, Sojern said the strong travel intent to the region would continue well into 2023. As of February, Sojern sees that 2023 flight searches are up year-on-year globally. With last year’s FIFA World Cup boosting travel recovery in the region, Sojern looks at the current state of play for travel now that the tournament dust has settled. The travel marketing platform noted that Qatar continues to ride the World Cup wave with particularly strong interest from Latin America. Lodging demand from regional Middle East travellers is also up 123 percent. Sojern also noted that over 75 percent of U.S. travellers are staying in the region for more than eight days. Compared to other long-haul destinations in Asia they are more willing to stay for over one week making them high-value travellers for Middle Eastern destinations.

Knowland, the provider of data-as-a-service insights on meetings and events for hospitality, announced its expansion in the Middle East to include Doha. Knowland’s extension into the Middle East will continue throughout 2023 to accommodate the demand and competition facing new hoteliers. Calling Middle East one of the fastest-growing hospitality markets in the world, Knowland said this has created several challenges including steep competition as well as the necessity to train sales teams who may have never worked in the hospitality industry. “The world’s largest active pipeline of new hotels is in the Middle East, so as we continue to build on the exciting growth in Qatar, we are also focused on expanding our reach throughout the increasingly popular region for local and global meetings and events,” Jeff Bzdawka, CEO of Knowland said. The company plans to open additional Middle East markets this year.

Hyatt shared that 45 percent of the properties that joined Hyatt’s system in 2022 were based in Europe, Middle East and Africa market and the region’s contribution to the Hyatt growth journey continues into 2023 through a strong pipeline with ten percent of Hyatt’s 117,000 rooms record pipeline, as of fourth quarter earnings, expected to join the portfolio in the region. Properties classified as lifestyle hotels make up nearly one fourth of the Europe, Middle East and Africa market pipeline, expanding the portfolio to more sought-after leisure destinations and strengthening the World of Hyatt value proposition. Notable drivers for the expected regional growth include several large-scale leisure portfolio integrations, adding a substantial number of rooms to the World of Hyatt program and the booking flow as well as organic growth for the Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency and The Unbound Collection by Hyatt brands slated for 2023 and the years ahead.  

Members of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) enquiry mission are in Riyadh for their 6-day evaluation process of the Riyadh Candidacy for World Expo 2030. Saudi Arabia announced its bid to host World Expo 2030 in Riyadh in October 2021 and, since then, senior Saudi government officials have made three presentations to the BIE General Assembly. The year 2023 will see key milestones for Riyadh Expo 2030 with the current enquiry mission visit, a presentation to the General Assembly in June and the final vote by the General Assembly in November 2023. Members of the enquiry mission will engage with ministers, members of government and subject matter experts, to evaluate the details of the Riyadh Expo 2030 bid. “Its theme outlines a vision to create a unique and collaborative platform for global problem-solving with an enduring legacy, led by foresight and geared towards delivering impact at a global scale,” a release stated.

Qatar Airways launched a new brand campaign in collaboration with Indian actor, Deepika Padukone. The campaign launch is the culmination of the airline’s endeavor to redefine Qatar Airways premium experience, particularly through showcasing the Q-Suite, the airline said in a statement. Calling Padukone an obvious choice, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said, “She has the right global appeal and charisma for our brand.” Qatar Airways currently flies to more than 150 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport.

Hotel management company Shaza Hotels has entered into a brand-wide agreement with WebBeds, a global marketplace for travel brands. Based on the agreement, WebBeds will undertake brand wide pricing and distribution globally for all Shaza and Mysk Hotels through their distribution networks, connecting travel agents and trave trade suppliers. This partnership will strengthen Shaza Hotels’ distribution network and expand its reach in the global travel market, the company said in a statement. Shaza Hotels also announced its ambitious expansion plans in the region, which includes the opening of properties in Dubai, Jeddah, Madinah, Sharjah and Muscat. The group said that it is also aiming to develop its Shaza and Mysk portfolio outside the Gulf region, to U.S., Turkey, Egypt and Levant.

Leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts announced plans to introduce a Four Seasons Resort as part of The Red Sea masterplan development in Saudi Arabia. Touted to be one of the region’s foremost luxury beachside destinations, The Red Sea will comprise idyllic natural islands and lagoons across 124 miles of coastline along the western coast of Saudi Arabia, between the cities of Umluj and Al Wajh. The new Four Seasons Resort will be located on Shura Island. “As we continue to expand Four Seasons presence in the region, our new project in the Red Sea will be one of our first resorts in Saudi Arabia,” said Bart Carnahan, president, global business development and portfolio management. The new Four Seasons Resort, designed by Foster + Partners, will offer approximately 149 rooms and suites.

Emirates and Philippine Airlines have signed an interline agreement to boost connectivity for passengers of both air carriers to new points on each other’s networks via Manila and Dubai, using a single ticket and one baggage policy. The partnership provides Emirates’ passengers access to 19 Philippine domestic destinations operated by Philippine Airlines, including Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Cotabato, Davao, Iloilo, Kalibo and more, as well as two Asian regional points via Manila. Passenger of Philippine Airlines will also benefit from access to Emirates’ global network beyond Dubai. The partnership will help open new links for trade and tourism that will drive more inbound traffic into the market, and expand Emirates’ footprint in East Asia, said Adnan Kazim, Emirates’ Chief Commercial Officer, as he called The Philippines one of the strongest consumer markets for the airline.

Source: Skift

What travelers to Turkey need to know

It’s been nearly a month since a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, claiming the lives of thousands of people and injuring many more.

The devastating impact of the events, and the aftershocks that have followed, have left many travelers who had been planning to visit the country in the coming days, weeks, or even months, with questions.

Now in a three-month state of national emergency, Turkey is a major tourism destination, attracting 44.6 million foreign arrivals in 2022, according to Turkish government statistics.

Many would-be visitors will have been headed to key resorts and cities, particularly in popular coastal winter sun destinations.

The quake hit near to the town of Gaziantep in southeast Turkey, close to the Syrian border, at around 4.17 a.m. local time on February 6, leading to over 6,000 buildings collapsing.

While international travelers have been advised against traveling to the affected areas, travel to the leading tourism destinations – mostly far from the quake-hit areas – remain unaffected for the most part. But there will inevitably be some impact.

Here’s what we know:

What areas have been affected by the earthquake?

Approximately 10 Turkish provinces were impacted by the quake, which was one of the strongest to hit the region in more than a century – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye and Sanliurfa.

The ancient Gaziantep Castle, one of the Turkish city’s most renowned landmarks, was severely damaged due to the earthquake.

The city of Aleppo, already ravaged by 11 years of civil war, was among the most affected areas of northwestern Syria, where more than four million people were already relying on humanitarian assistance.

Have flights to Turkey been canceled?

International airlines have been operating flights to and from Turkey as normal since the earthquake.

Three airports – Turkey’s Adana Airport (ADA,) Hatay Airport (HTY) and Gaziantep Oğuzeli International (GZT) Airport – were briefly shut after the quake. However, all have since reopened.

Istanbul Airport, Turkey’s main international airport, has continued to operate as normal.

Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier airline of Turkey, is allowing passengers to either rebook, or obtain a refund on domestic and international flights to or from “earthquake afflicted areas”on flights scheduled from February 6 to March 31, provided they were booked before February 9, 2023.

How will vacationers be impacted?

There’s no indication that any travel to Turkey’s major tourism destinations has been majorly disrupted and most are able to welcome visitors as normal.

Ali Kutuk from Likya Nature Travel, a travel agency based in Antalya that offers trekking tours, told CNN Travel that the agency had so far had just one group booking cancellation, and one rebooking as a result of the quake.

“We have [had] some impact on recent tours,” he says, before stressing that he is not expecting the situation to affect summer bookings and local people are still making travel plans within the country. “I continue to have reservations for summer.”

Antalya is around 594 kilometers (369 miles) away from earthquake zone city Gaziantep by air. Istanbul is about 850 kilometers (528 miles) away. Other major tourist destinations such as Cappadocia, Canakkle, Bodrum and Marmaris are also far from affected areas.

What is the current advice for international travelers?

While various governments, including the US and the UK, have urged travelers to avoid specific areas impacted by the earthquake, citizens are not being advised stay away from unaffected areas in Turkey at present.

Should tourists visit Turkey now?

Most of Turkey’s leading tourism destinations are continuing to welcome visitors. For many in the country, the recent earthquake has made it more imperative that people continue to travel to Turkey’s unaffected areas for their vacations.

Many people in Turkey are dependent on tourism revenues and, after being affected by pandemic shutdowns in recent years, were banking on a resurgence in visitors until the quake hit.

In 2021, Turkey’s travel and tourism sector contribution to GDP was $59.3 billion, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The World Bank says that the quakes have caused around $34 billion of direct damage in Turkey.

What can I do to help victims of the earthquake?

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have launched two emergency appeals with a total value of 200 million Swiss francs (around $214 million) to help relief efforts in both countries.

There are many other organizations who are also on the ground responding. You can help by clicking here.

Source: CNN

East Africa Tourist Visa Aims to Boost Tourism in the Region

Travel professionals at ITB Berlin 2023 are informed about the business opportunities and prospects offered in East Africa today.

In the presence of African joint venture partners, including a delegation accompanying the Ethiopian tourism minister, representatives of business and tourism organizations described possible ways in which these countries can profit from the expansion of long-haul tourism.

East African countries have a wealth of tourism highlights. Tourism attractions range from safari tours to gorillas in the wild in Uganda, as well as cultural sites in Ethiopia and the famous Nyungwe waterfalls in the national park of the same name in Rwanda. Kenya and Tanzania, together with the island of Zanzibar, are already popular destinations for German visitors. The majority of tourists use the services of well-known package tour providers, explained Dr. Martin Post from the German Travel Association (DRV). He forecasts a substantial recovery of the long-haul travel market. However, many people make their bookings at short notice, which complicates planning for the providers of such services.

Matthias Lemcke, vice president of the South and East Africa Working Group (ASA), described the advantages of his association, which includes tourism boards, airlines and tour operators. Part of his work involves visits by delegations from Germany to countries that have not had many international tourists. Among the events planned for 2023 is a tour to Angola. As a consultant and ASA member Guido Bürger explained that tour operators with a unique selling point can also find opportunities, alongside established suppliers of package tours, for example by offering bird spotting or culinary events. However, growing numbers of travellers are making their bookings online or, if they are familiar with a country, they put all the components of their trip together themselves. Digitalisation provides an opportunity for small and medium sized businesses, and in some East African countries they can to some extent have access to funding programmes such as those offered by the World Bank or the GIZ.

The East Africa Tourist Visa, known as EATV for short, is designed to make travellers‘ lives easier. So far it is valid for Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. More countries may be included in the future. All three countries can be visited with one visa, which is valid for 90 days and entitles the holder to multiple entries.


Over the past few years, Kenya has slowly but steadily been rebuilding its tourism sector.  Kenya’s major activities include holiday travel at 68 per cent, business travel at 18 per cent and transit at 14 per cent. Tourism arrivals for the year 2018 were recorded at 2.025 million. The challenges for Kenya include globalization which is leading to the creation of uniform standards and protocols, and the heavy taxation of the sector, among others.


The country has branded itself as “Gifted by Nature” with many tourist attractions, including wildlife, nature, geography, culture, heritage and good weather all year around. Uganda witnessed a 7.4 per cent increase in international tourist arrivals in 2018, with the numbers growing from 1,402,409 persons in 2017 to 1,506,669 arrivals in 2018.


Tourism revenue recorded a 76 per cent decline from $498 million in 2019 to $121 million in 2020 due to the pandemic restrictions.

In 2021, Rwanda’s tourism revenues were $164 million, a 25 per cent increase from $131 million in 2020. The country welcomed more than 512,000 international visitors in 2021.

Source: FTN News

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism relaunches Dubai Carbon Calculator

Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) has announced the relaunch of the pioneering Carbon Calculator tool that measures the carbon footprint within Dubai’s hospitality sector. The tool has now been revamped to track real-time data for carbon emission sources, allowing hotels to identify and effectively manage their energy consumption.

The improvements are part of the Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) initiative that seeks to contribute to the broader clean energy targets and support the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategy, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) 2030. The initiative also supports the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, to consolidate Dubai’s status as one of the top three global cities and enhance its position as one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations.

Since its inception in January 2017, Dubai Sustainable Tourism’s Carbon Calculator, part of the Tourism Dirham Platform, has been measuring the carbon footprint of hotels across Dubai. On a monthly basis, hotels are mandated to submit their consumption of nine carbon emission sources, including: electricity, water, district cooling, liquefied petroleum gas, landfill waste, recycled waste, petrol, diesel and refrigerants. This information is aggregated and analysed to provide valuable industry insights on the sector’s collective carbon footprint. In addition, by formulating a baseline along with consistent tracking, this information enables hotels to understand their energy, water and waste consumption and further identify successful cost-saving opportunities.

The data provided helps hotels and resorts implement initiatives to efficiently manage their carbon footprint in line with the 19 Sustainability Requirements put in place to establish a baseline across hotels in Dubai and unify hotels’ environmental practices. The 19 Sustainability Requirements include sustainable management approaches, performance metrics, energy, food and water management plans, guest education, employee training initiatives, the presence of sustainability committees within hotel establishments and corporate social responsibility programmes for local communities. Through improving internal sustainability operations, hotel establishments in turn, will enhance the competitiveness of Dubai’s tourism-linked economy.

Yousuf Lootah, Acting CEO of Corporate Strategy and Performance sector, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “We are pleased to relaunch the Carbon Calculator as part of our ongoing commitment to support the UAE Net Zero by 2050 Strategy, and align with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33. The upgraded platform also further aligns with the UAE’s commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as the city ramps up preparations to host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) this year.”

Lootah added: “As DET continually strives to further enhance its services to stakeholders and partners, the revamped carbon calculator will provide hotels with a user-friendly experience and enable hotels to make informed decisions. By keeping track of their energy consumption, the data provides a baseline for DET to develop strategies for the sector so that hotels and resorts can effectively manage impact, improve the efficiency of managing carbon resources and identify potential saving opportunities. In addition to supporting hotels and resorts within the city’s tourism ecosystem, this initiative has a larger goal: creating a city that is the world’s most visited and the best place to live and work in, as envisaged by the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.”

In addition to relaunching the Carbon Calculator, the Dubai College of Tourism (DCT) and Dubai Sustainable Tourism (DST) have upgraded the ‘Dubai Sustainable Tourism’ course available on DCT’s innovative learning platform – Dubai Way. The course offers a broad range of educational and awareness programmes for people employed in tourist-facing roles across the tourism ecosystem.

The newly relaunched module includes educational segments focused on the Carbon Calculator, water and energy saving, how to establish a ‘Green Team’ and implement green procurement strategies. The course reflects the power of education in driving sustainable tourism and encouraging the implementation of environmental practices, while empowering participants with the knowledge to successfully implement ESG principles across the travel and hospitality sectors, thus creating a network of sustainability champions.

Source: Emirates News Agency – WAM