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Unclear health regulations; apprehension around commercial flights in 2022

Unclear health regulations; apprehension around commercial flights in 2022

RIYADH: Tourism industry is forecasted to grow in the Middle East. However, despite this, the Aviation industry may be adversely affected due to widespread misunderstanding about the health regulation on air travel. YouGov conducted a survey prior to the Future Aviation Forum, which revealed that a large number of people are hesitant to fly commercially because of confusing health regulation.

In the survey conducted in the US, the UK, Italy, and the Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, it was revealed that 46 percent of Gulf residents, 32 percent of Americans, 40 percent of Italians, and 40 percent of Brits said that they might not choose to fly commercially in 2022 due to the uncertainty surrounding health regulations.

Last year, 68 percent of individuals in the Gulf, 46 percent of respondents in the US, 61 percent of people in Italy, and 65 percent of people in the UK chose not to travel by air because of the same reasons.

Arab News reported that the World Travel and Tourism Council has forecasted that in 2022, Middle East's travel and tourism sector will be able to make a profit of $246 billion. But despite this, the survey indicates a negative trajectory for the sector's recovery.

Last month, the CEO of Saudi Tourism Board Fahd Hamidaddin anticipated a 150-percentage growth in inbound tourism to the Kingdom in the second quarter of this year.

FAF published a report on the strategies established by Saudi Arabia's General Authority of Civil Aviation to future-proof the sector and tackle the possible health crisis that might arise with the surge in tourists visiting the country.

Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of GACA said, "With passenger traffic not expected to return to pre-2019 levels until 2024, we need to find ways to harmonize health information protocols, to enhance information sharing and transparency among countries".

In the FAF report, Saleh Bin Nasser Al-Jasser, the Kingdom's minister of transport and logistics, said that the clarity around current travel requirements and the confidence in the sector's ability to withstand a future health crisis are essential for the global aviation sector to recover swiftly.

In the Future Aviation Forum taking place this month in Riyadh, Arab News reported that business deals and investments to facilitate the recovery of the aviation industry will be one of the major topics of discussion. The event will predominantly host leaders, international CEOs, and regulators in a bid to resolve post-pandemic issues and shape future international air travel.

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