Lifting of Qatar embargo to boost travel, hotel bookings

Flight, hotel searches to Qatar up over last several weeks, says new report

Hotel Room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Hotel Room. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The lifting of the three-year blockade on Qatar is likely to boost the travel and hospitality sectors in the Gulf state, with flight and hotel searches picking up over the last several days, according to a new report.

The last several weeks have been highlighted with announcements relating to the restoration of diplomatic ties within the Middle East region. One of the biggest developments was the resumption of flights to Qatar from countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“The last few weeks have shown a steep incline in [global flight] search volumes inbound to Qatar,” travel research and marketing consultancy Sojern said in its latest analysis.

The report, which is based on data collected on January 12, 2021, indicated that travel intent to Qatar went up by 70.5 percent, the “most dramatic change” seen among markets monitored in the region.

“The newly restored diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar appear to have shown a positive light on travel intent, and intra-regional travel shows very early signs of picking up,” said Sojern, which has access to real-time traveller audiences and visibility into global travel demand.

Flight searches

Among the travellers planning to fly to Qatar, those from the United States account for 14 percent of inbound searches over the last two months, according to Sojern.

Visitors from Egypt came second on the list, accounting for 8.4 percent of the global flight searches to Qatar, followed by travellers from Oman (7 percent), India (6.3 percent), Jordan (5.1 percent), and Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, at 4.8 percent each.

Turkish travellers have also shown interest to visit Qatar, accounting for 4.4 percent of the flight searches, as well as those from the United Kingdom (3.8 percent) and other South Asian countries (3.7 percent).

Hotel searches

As for hotel stays, customers from the UAE have topped the list of search volumes by potential guests within the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region (1.36 percent), followed by Saudi Arabia (1.13 percent), Turkey (0.98 percent) , Jordan (0.8 percent) and Kuwait (0.61 percent).

Customers from South Africa, Egypt, Lebanon and Oman have also been searching for hotel accommodations in Qatar over the last several days.

The majority of hotel bookings, however, are likely to come from residents in Qatar, which account for 93.6 percent of the total search volumes.

“When comparing intra-regional travel intent from the last 14 days with searches that have been made over the last week, out of the three GCC countries (Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia), Qatar has experienced the most dramatic change

UAE-based carriers Flydubai and Etihad Airways announced last week the resumption of flights to Qatar following the lifting of the three-year embargo imposed on the Gulf state.

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)

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© ZAWYA 2021

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