As Gulf travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, airlines add more Maldives and Seychelles flights

Update As Gulf travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, airlines add more Maldives and Seychelles flights
Remote island destinations such as the Maldives are expected to benefit from post-pandemic travel tastes. (Reuters)
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Updated 09 March 2021

As Gulf travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, airlines add more Maldives and Seychelles flights

As Gulf travelers seek post-pandemic pampering, airlines add more Maldives and Seychelles flights
  • Air Seychelles and Emirates add routes
  • Gulf carriers respond to emerging travel trends

LONDON: Emirates is increasing services to the Maldives and Seychelles as travelers seek out space and luxury after a year of travel restrictions.
It comes as the region’s big carriers position themselves for an upswing in demand for travel as vaccine programs are rolled out and flying restrictions eased.
Such routes are expected to become more important amid a much slower anticipated return of premium travel, where Gulf airlines including Emirates and Qatar Airways have a strong market presence.
Both Emirates and regional hub rival Qatar Airways are seeing strong demand for Maldives getaways as the pair gradually resume flying to more destinations.
“Space is becoming the sought after commodity for many travelers and there has already been capacity added to destinations such as these by several airlines,” aviation consultant John Strickland told Arab News. “Such destinations can support a price premium too for similar reasons and when demand is broadly so weak any opportunity for airlines to tap into higher margin traffic will be welcome.”
Starting March 28, the Dubai carrier will increase services to both destinations ahead of the Easter break. It will increase its weekly Maldives service to 28 flights from the current 24. At the same time the Seychelles route will move to seven-times-a-week from the current five. The heavily tourism-reliant Seychelles has moved quickly to open up to inoculated passengers. It plans to start welcoming international visitors from March 25 by which time some 70 percent of the population is expected to have been vaccinated.
Air Seychelles also said it had introduced weekly direct flights from Dubai World Central Airport (DWC) to the Seychelles between March 27 and May 29 2021, starting from about $343.A recent report from the World Travel Tourism Council highlighted rising anticipated demand for remote destinations and beach vacations post-pandemic.
Aileen Clemente, CEO of Rajah Travel Corporation, predicted there would be “an emergence of new destinations in isolated locations as consumers veer away from ‘massification.’”
All travelers to the Maldives, excluding Maldives citizens, must present a negative COVID‑19 PCR test result, conducted within 96 hours prior to departure. Passengers must also complete an online Immigration and health self‑declaration form within 24 hours prior to arrival. Meanwhile travelers to the Seychelles will still be required to present a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure.