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HomeNewsQatar leads Middle East and Africa international arrivals recovery, reports ForwardKeys

Qatar leads Middle East and Africa international arrivals recovery, reports ForwardKeys

MIDDLE EAST & AFRICA. Travel analyst ForwardKeys has revealed new research which shows that tickets issued for international arrivals to the Middle East and Africa in Q2 this year stand at -33% compared to 2019 levels, ahead of the international average of -45%. This represents a marked improvement on the equivalent 2021 figure, which stood at -64%.

The Middle East and Africa region is close behind the Americas in the travel recovery stakes (click to enlarge)

The result places those regions just behind the Americas (-27%) in the race to match pre-pandemic levels of air travel.

The standout performer in Q2 so far is Qatar, with tickets issued for international arrivals standing at +7% compared to the 2019 numbers. Qatar is followed by Egypt (-27%) and the UAE (-29%).

Only Qatar is in positive territory for international arrivals to the Middle East and Africa in Q2 compared to 2019 (click to enlarge)

ForwardKeys also revealed that the largest origin market for the Middle East is the UK with a share of 12.8%, with total international arrivals in Q2 from the UK standing at -6% of pre-pandemic flight bookings.

Olivier Ponti highlighted large increases in arrivals to Qatar from the UK and US

International arrivals from the US are up +15% compared with 2019, with the slightly smaller share of 11.3%.

ForwardKeys VP of Insights Olivier Ponti said: “Looking specifically at Qatar, we see a +76% increase for arrivals from the UK, compared with 2019, and remarkably we see a +105% increase of arrivals from the US to Qatar compared with 2019.”

He added: “Considering all the challenges the tourism sector has faced recently, this is an encouraging feat for Qatar ahead of the FIFA World Cup in November.”

Looking at individual airports, ForwardKeys revealed that Egypt’s Hurghada International currently holds the number one position for on the book international arrivals from April to June. It has achieved an increase of +17% compared to 2019 levels.

In second place is Doha’s Hamad International (-7%), while Abu Dhabi International (-28%) is marginally ahead of Dubai International (-29%) relative to 2019.

Hurghada International in Egypt is the stand out performer among Middle East and Africa airports in Q2 (click to enlarge)

ForwardKeys Africa Market Expert Shingai George said: “All of this can change in the blink of an eye as we’ve seen last-minute bookings become the norm and bookings soar overnight when travel restrictions are eased.

“But we are seeing consumer confidence for long-haul flights is up again, with the Americans really kick-starting travel revival around the world now.”