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Commercial airline passengers still fear flying in 2022, global survey finds

RIYADH: Despite optimistic tourism forecasts in the Middle East, a YouGov survey ahead of the Future Aviation Forum revealed widespread misunderstanding about air travel health regulations that could affect the aviation industry.

The study found that 46% of Gulf residents, 32% of Americans, 40% of Italians and 40% of Britons believe that confusing health regulations will prevent them from flying in 2022, a very negative indicator for the recovery of the sector.

Additionally, 68% of people in the Gulf, 46% of people surveyed in the US, 61% of people in Italy and 65% of people in the UK chose not to travel in 2021 due to these same confusions. .

The survey took place in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy and the Gulf countries of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The apprehension comes despite forecasts by the World Travel and Tourism Council that profits for the travel and tourism sector in the Middle East could reach $246 billion in 2022.

Last month, Saudi Tourism Board CEO Fahd Hamidaddin revealed that the Kingdom expects 150% growth in inbound tourism in the second quarter of this year.

A report published by the FAF indicates that the General Authority of Civil Aviation of Saudi Arabia is in the process of establishing a strategy to future-proof the sector against possible future health crises.

“With passenger traffic not expected to return to pre-2019 levels until 2024, we need to find ways to harmonize health information protocols, improve information sharing and transparency between countries” , said Abdulaziz Al-Duailej, president of GACA. in the report.

In the FAF report, Saleh Bin Nasser Al-Jasser, the Kingdom’s Minister of Transport and Logistics, said the clarity of current travel requirements and confidence in the sector’s ability to withstand a future crisis health are essential for the global aviation sector to recover. rapidly.

Plans to revive the aviation industry’s activities will be one of the main topics discussed at the FAF, which will be held in Riyadh this month.

The event will primarily host international executives, CEOs and regulators who will determine the future of international air travel and advance post-pandemic solutions.