It’s time for a summer break
This is a summer of travel with minimal restrictions and while there have been hiccups as the travel system returns to its pre-Covid levels, travel is not seeing any slowing down.
Etihad Airways is expecting over 1.4 million passengers to depart from Abu Dhabi International Airport, including 330,000 local joiners, with more than 1,100 weekly network-wide departures this summer.
“The past few years have reminded us all of the importance of taking the time to pause and notice the details around us”
– Simon Casson
Global travel marketplace Skyscanner shares strong demand for summer travel with Saudi bookings for travel this July and August increasing by 325 per cent in May compared to the previous month and UAE bookings up by 156 per cent for the same period.Skyscanner’s Travel Expert, Ayoub El Mamoun, comments: “As travel restrictions have eased and traveller confidence returns, we’ve witnessed a travel revival with pent-up demand turning into millions of travellers enjoying their much longed for trips again.”
The top trending destinations for UAE travellers in summer 2022 according to Skyscanner are: Manila, Cairo, Amman, Mumbai and Istanbul. The top trending destinations for Saudi travellers for summer 2022: Cairo, London, Bangkok, Baku and Hyderabad.
“Thailand will likely see an influx from Saudi Arabia and I believe other open Asian destinations such as Indonesia and Singapore should see an improvement in arrival numbers,” Sammy Musa, Chief Executive Officer at Gulf Reps, the leading travel and tourism representation company in the Middle East, says.
“The real winners this year will be the UK and Europe, with the eVisa waiver scheme introduced for Saudi Arabia to the UK there is likely to be a large numberof last-minute bookings and in general I believe Europe will perform extremely well this summer from the region as GCC Nationals revisit their favoured destinations.
“The long delays in the UAE for Schengen visa applications means that European destinations should focus their efforts on UAE Nationals while the Americas will only really benefit from visitors who hold an existing visa given the long visa application time. Whilst these visa issues may not necessarily affect the traveller and their family it may create a concern for anyone wishing to travel with nannies as we often see, particularly for those visiting the west coast of the US,” says Musa.
Laurent Vannier, Aman Resorts Head of Sales – Europe, Middle East & Africa, says: “We anticipate that we’ll start to see bookings at least reach pre-pandemic levels for our top destinations for the Gulf, including Aman Japan, Amanpulo in The Philippines and Amanoi in Vietnam, which are only just reopening to international travel.
“The long delays in the UAE for Schengen visa applications means that European destinations should focus their efforts on UAE Nationals, while the Americas will only really benefit from visitors who hold an existing visa given the long visa application time”
– Sammy Musa
“2022 of course performs better than FY2020 and is on par with 2021, which was one of the best years for Amanruya and Amanzoe in Greece with travellers from the Gulf.
“Airlift (direct flights) and proximity are key. The top destination for 2022 is Amanwella in Sri Lanka, one of the best years for the GCC market due to short direct flights. Otherwise, we are mostly receiving bookings for Amanzoe, Amanruya, Amanjena, Aman Venice and further afield for Amanpuri, Aman Indonesia, Amanyara (and also Japan for later in the year).
“Additionally, we have recently received wonderful news about Saudi travellers being able to travel to Thailand where we have the legendary Amanpuri and Turkey where we have Amanruya in Bodrum. Amanpuri welcomed a lot of Saudi guests in May and we expect many travellers will want to visit these wonderful destinations later this summer.
“Additionally, Aman le Mélézin in Courchevel 1850 has always welcomed a lot of guests from the Gulf and we have already received confirmations for next winter season. We attract couples, especially honeymooners, due to the privacy and exclusivity Aman offers, while our multi-bedroom, fully serviced villas welcome larger families for 5 to 7 night stays, depending on destinations.”
From coastlines to cities, medieval villages to royal parks, urban art tours to cellars, leading luxury hospitality company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has launched the latest iteration of its popular Scenic Route – captivating journeys into the heart of eight of European destinations.
“The past few years have reminded us all of the importance of taking the time to pause and notice the details around us,” says Simon Casson, President, Hotel Operations - Europe, Middle East and Africa. “This notion of slowing down and enjoying the journey is what inspired the creation of the Scenic Route with Four Seasons, and this latest offering is all about celebrating heartfelt connections with the places we visit and the people we encounter.”
Casson continues, “Cherry-picking the best insider knowledge from our world-renowned concierges, each route immerses travellers in cultural gems, authentic cuisine, local art, history, and more.”
Newly added Scenic Routes include a gastronomic adventure in Paris, an art immersion from Madrid to Lisbon, and a riverside exploration from Prague to Budapest, among others.
BRANSON’S SWISS CHALET
Situated in the heart of Verbier, just five-minutes from the village centre, is The Lodge, Sir Richard Branson’s famed mountain retreat and timeless destination for Branson family holidays. Comprising of nine stunning bedrooms and suites, sleeping up to 18 adults, The Lodge also boasts a beautiful and traditionally made bunkroom, equipped with a TV, playstation, and beanbags, making it the ideal bedroom and hangout for up to six children.
During a stay at The Lodge guests can while away their days hiking and biking through the mountains, discovering the local area, or simply put their feet up with a good book by the pool – all before enjoying delicious plates of food dreamed up by The Lodge’s world class chefs and settling in for the night in front of the fire with a cup of its signature hot chocolate. Those looking to let their hair down can get the party started and head to the chalet’s very own Party Room, which features a pool table, a bar, a wine selection, games console and a 50” plasma screen.
For guests looking to venture out and explore more of the local area, Verbier has something for everyone – from adventuring via cable cars to reach the summit of Mont Fort, to challenging your handicap on one of the many stunning golf ranges, going for a family horse trek, or simply moseying down streets jam-packed with boutiques and designer shops, before heading back to your private lodge and a wealth of luxury facilities.
The Lodge can be booked exclusively for up to 18 guests, making it the perfect escape for a private group trip, but also welcomes individual room bookings at select dates during the year.
LONDON FOR MUSIC LOVERS
Summer is one long musical soiree in London this year at the British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park, BBC Proms or Wireless music festival. A truly great start to the season, the music festivals will take place right up to September 10 and will respectively showcase some of the greatest artists of all time, from classic rock icons like The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Pearl Jam to hip hop idols, Nicky Minaj, A$AP Rocky, and Cardi B.
A stone’s throw away from some of the city’s most anticipated music festivals, the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane Hotel is renowned as one of London’s most iconic hotels and is commonly frequented by celebrities and socialites alike.
Located in Mayfair, visitors from the region are welcome to relax and unwind amongst the stars and experience the peak of British hospitality in the hotel’s royal suites, which boast stunning historic British interiors complete with classic design accents, including stained-glass windows and theatrical patterns.
First opened in 1927, this hotel with a history offers royalty at its best and unmissable art deco interiors. Guests are also encouraged to experience the Sheraton’s Signature Sleep Experience Bed, specially crafted for the perfect night’s sleep. Conveniently located only 10 minutes away from Hyde Park where the highly anticipated BST festival will take place, Sheraton Grand London Park Lane makes for the ideal music-centric stay.
ADDRESS PALACE BEACH
Closer to home, staycations will continue to be big as new and refurbished properties open across the Gulf.
One of the recent openings: Palace Beach Resort Fujairah, the third beach resort of the Address Hotels + Resorts collection, under Emaar Hospitality Group, has opened its opulent doors just in time for summer.
Designed with a majestic sense of style and developed by Eagle Hills, Palace Resort Fujairah is set to become the brand’s ultimate beach getaway guaranteeing an unforgettable stay at their beachfront oasis enjoying outstanding array of world-class facilities and exceptional amenities.
Palace Hotels & Resorts offer world class luxury stays, creating, and curating memories for guests at every touchpoint and moment of their journey at any property. The award-winning brand offers a more personal and engaging experience to guests in a premium lifestyle environment, enriching the lives of its guests with luxury, style, and elegance.Palace Beach Resort Fujairah offers guests a pool area, with kids and adults pools, 24/7 fitness centre, Qix kids club, and world class dining options. Opening over the next few months a second restaurant and the award-winning spa overlooking the captivating scenery designed to rejuvenate mind, body, and soul.