World tourism gradually recovers amid global uncertainty

Special World tourism gradually recovers amid global uncertainty
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Updated 06 June 2022

World tourism gradually recovers amid global uncertainty

World tourism gradually recovers amid global uncertainty
  • Travel and tourism contributed 21.7% to global gross domestic product in 2021

DUBAI: Global tourism has been facing the brunt of natural and man-made events, one after the other. However, it has the potential to grow to $8.6 trillion in 2022, according to an industry survey.

Travel and tourism contributed 21.7 percent to the global gross domestic product in 2021 after falling sharply in 2020 due to COVID-19, according to a joint survey by the World Travel & Tourism Council and Oxford Economics. According to the travel body, tourism growth this year holds tremendous potential.

Even as global tourism showed strong signs of recovery in January 2022 after reeling under COVID-related restrictions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine added to the uncertainty, the United Nations World Tourism Organization stated in a report.

The UN report stated that global international tourist arrivals more than doubled in January 2022, rising by 130 percent compared to January 2021. Around 18 million more tourists were recorded worldwide in March this year.

Despite these figures reflecting a positive trend, recovery halted indefinitely in the wake of Omicron and travel restrictions in several destinations. In January 2022, international arrivals remained 67 percent below pre-pandemic levels after declining 71 percent in 2021, according to the UN report. 

In the same month, all regions performed significantly better than the corresponding month in 2021. Even as international arrivals were at around half the pre-pandemic levels, both Europe and the Americas continued to have the strongest turnout.

Changing travel dynamics

Although European arrivals increased by 199 percent and Americas by 97 percent, international arrivals remained below the pre-pandemic levels and declined by 53 percent and 52 percent, respectively, UNWTO explained.

Tourist arrivals in the Middle East grew by 89 percent and Africa by 51 percent in January 2022 compared to January 2022.

By the end of March, more than 10 COVID-restricted destinations had opened up, and a growing number of places eased or lifted travel curbs; it allowed the pent-up demand to be met.

However, the war on Ukraine severely dented global travel confidence and posed challenges to the global economy. As a result, international travel is at risk, putting the global economy at peril, the UNWTO said.

As the US and Asian source markets have been easing restrictions, they could be particularly impacted in travel to Europe since they have historically been more risk-averse.

Many European countries banned Russian carriers, which affected intra-Europe travel. It also increased the duration and cost of flights between Europe and East Asia due to detours, the report added. 




Sojern Middle East and Africa Managing Director Stewart Smith

In 2020, Russia and Ukraine accounted for 3 percent of global tourism spending. UNWTO estimated that at least SR55.5 billion ($14 billion) in global tourism receipts would be lost if the conflict persists.

In an assessment by UNWTO on the impact of the war, it stated that “though it is early to assess the impact on international tourism, the military offensive of the Russian Federation on Ukraine represents a downside risk that could delay a still weak and uneven recovery of international tourism, despite the increasing number of destinations easing restrictions.”

On the road to recovery

Sojern Middle East and Africa Managing Director Stewart Smith said that the company had observed that neighboring countries in Eastern Europe provide aid and support to Ukraine rather than promoting their destinations to tourists.

Sojern, a digital marketing platform that both the UNWTO and the Pacific Asia Travel Association rely on for their travel and tourism recovery research, stated that flight searches for Asia-Pacific dropped 12 percent in 2022 compared to 2019.

Smith said that several destinations do not want to miss out on tourist opportunities during their peak season. Therefore, they continued to invest in tourism support, albeit less than usual.

Through co-op marketing, Sojern partnered with the Department of Culture and Tourism and demonstrated its commitment to supporting Abu Dhabi’s properties.

This year, the company saw a 2,000 percent increase in travel intent from Oceania, particularly Australia and New Zealand. However, there were more travel restrictions in that region than today, and it was much more difficult to travel to Europe from Oceania.

According to Sojern data, flight searches in Europe, the Middle East and Africa increased by 46 percent in 2022 compared to the pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Also, year-over-year flight searches to Europe were more than 200 percent higher in March 2022 than they were at the corresponding time last year, Sojern reported.

While the conflict led to uncertainty, hotel and flight bookings in the first quarter of 2022 and April onwards showed continued promise.


NEOM awards London-based Keller major piling contract for ‘The Line’

NEOM awards London-based Keller major piling contract for ‘The Line’
Updated 27 June 2022

NEOM awards London-based Keller major piling contract for ‘The Line’

NEOM awards London-based Keller major piling contract for ‘The Line’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s $500-billion project NEOM has awarded UK’s Keller a major piling contract for “The Line,” a 170-km megacity being developed within the Kingdom’s flagship project. 

Starting in the west at the Gulf of Aqaba and terminating at the NEOM International Airport within the upper valley region, The Line is subdivided into around 135 modules, according to a statement. 

Each module contains eight buildings founded on large diameter bored piles. 

Keller had signed an umbrella framework agreement with respect to the project, and is mobilizing for an anticipated first works order on a portion of Module 40 which has an expected value to Keller of around £50 million ($61.5 million), with the work anticipated to be completed within the next 12 months.

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Keller is an independent geotechnical solutions specialist.


NEOM, McLaren Racing partner to drive innovation in electric motorsport

NEOM, McLaren Racing partner to drive innovation in electric motorsport
Updated 27 June 2022

NEOM, McLaren Racing partner to drive innovation in electric motorsport

NEOM, McLaren Racing partner to drive innovation in electric motorsport

RIYADH: NEOM, one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship projects, has partnered with McLaren Racing to drive innovation and talent development in electric motorsport, according to a statement. 

With the partnership, NEOM becomes the title partner of the McLaren Formula E and Extreme E racing teams, which brings the two electric race series together under the banner of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing.

“Our partnership with McLaren Racing complements NEOM’s commitment to driving sustainable solutions and tackling some of society's most pressing challenges,” CEO Nadhmi Al-Nasr said. 

“The partnership will allow us to share our collective resources and experience to yield exciting results, not only for our own organizations, but also for the broader automotive and sports industries,” he added. 

McLaren will be located within OXAGON’s Research and Innovation Campus, which will provide cutting edge facilities and collaboration spaces. 

During 2023, McLaren and NEOM will create a bespoke program to nurture engineers and students, in line with the mega project’s commitment to develop Saudi talent. 


Thailand to seek fertilizer supply from Saudi producers

Thailand to seek fertilizer supply from Saudi producers
Updated 27 June 2022

Thailand to seek fertilizer supply from Saudi producers

Thailand to seek fertilizer supply from Saudi producers

RIYADH: Thailand is planning to negotiate with Saudi Arabia for the supply of fertilizers as the country is currently facing a shortage, especially due to the high cost of imports.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce will coordinate with Saudi suppliers and a business event is to be held between three major Saudi-based fertilizer suppliers and Thai importers on June 29, Thai local media reported citing Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit.

Laksanawisit added that two Saudi suppliers were recently provided permission to sell fertilizers to Thailand.

Thailand heavily relies on imports for its fertilizers, with only 8 percent coming from domestic sources and a usage of about 5 million tons of fertilizer a year, according to the minister.

The country’s overall demand for fertilizer from Saudi Arabia is about 808,000 tons, the media report noted citing industry statistics.


US stocks — Wall Street sheds opening gains on losses in high-growth stocks

US stocks — Wall Street sheds opening gains on losses in high-growth stocks
Updated 27 June 2022

US stocks — Wall Street sheds opening gains on losses in high-growth stocks

US stocks — Wall Street sheds opening gains on losses in high-growth stocks
  • S&P 500 energy stocks among few gainers
  • Robinhood rises on Goldman Sachs upgrade
  • Indexes down: Dow 0.24 percent, S&P 0.36 percent, Nasdaq 0.68 percent

REUTERS: Wall Street’s main indexes fell after opening higher on Monday, as a rally last week on easing concerns over inflation lost steam, with high-growth stocks leading declines.

“We had a nice rally last week, so I think we’re seeing a little bit of profit taking this morning,” said Dennis Dick, a proprietary trader at Bright Trading LLC in Las Vegas.

“The stocks that were up the most last week are the ones getting hit the hardest here today.”

The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index, which gained 7.5 percent last week, fell 0.7 percent to lead declines among the three major indexes.

Investors were betting on the retreat in oil prices from the three-month highs hit in June to potentially ease inflationary pressures and likely push the Federal Reserve to moderate its aggressive policy tightening.

However, data on Monday showed new orders for US-made capital goods and shipments increased solidly in May, pointing to sustained strength in business spending on equipment in the second quarter.

Oil prices also moved back into positive territory, pushing up the S&P 500 energy index by 2.2 percent, reining in expectations for inflation falling on the back of lower energy prices.

The US central bank has rapidly raised interest rates to tame 40-year-high inflation, stoking fears its actions could tip the world’s largest economy into a recession.

After the benchmark S&P 500 index earlier this month recorded a 20 percent drop from its January closing peak to confirm a bear market, investors have been trying to gauge when the market might hit its bottom.

At 10:11 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 76.62 points, or 0.24 percent, at 31,424.06, the S&P 500 was down 13.94 points, or 0.36 percent, at 3,897.80 and the Nasdaq Composite was down 78.44 points, or 0.68 percent, at 11,529.19.

Shares of Robinhood Markets rose 0.6 percent after media reports said Goldman Sachs upgraded the retail broker’s stock to “neutral” from “sell.”

Goldman Sachs, however, cut rating on Coinbase Global Inc. to “sell” from “buy,” according to media reports, sending shares of the cryptocurrency exchange lower by 9.4 percent.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 1.03-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.31-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and 29 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 16 new highs and 41 new lows.


OPEC+ trims 2022 market surplus projection to 1m bpd -report

OPEC+ trims 2022 market surplus projection to 1m bpd -report
Updated 27 June 2022

OPEC+ trims 2022 market surplus projection to 1m bpd -report

OPEC+ trims 2022 market surplus projection to 1m bpd -report

LONDON: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, trimmed its projected 2022 oil market surplus to 1 million barrels per day, down from 1.4 million bpd previously, a report seen by Reuters showed.

The report was prepared ahead of a meeting of the OPEC+ Joint Technical Committee scheduled to take place on Tuesday.