Leisure travel on the rise

Air Ara­bia has seen a change in traf­fic mix from Tier-II and Tier-III cities trav­el­ling to leisure des­ti­na­tions rather than for re­li­gious tours.

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Sachin Nene, Re­gional Gen­eral Man­ager-India, Air Ara­bia, be­lieves that the air­line has seen an in­crease in MICE busi­ness, leisure trav­ellers, FITs and even re­li­gious tours to places. Nene at­trib­uted the in­crease in MICE travel to lo­gis­tic ease. He says, “All our flights from India ar­rive al­most at the same time into Sharjah which makes it easy for the MICE op­er­a­tors to co­or­di­nate groups and even if the pas­sen­gers have to fly to Dubai or any­where else be­yond Sharjah, then also the lo­gis­tics can be eas­ily han­dled.”

Nene in­forms that Air Ara­bia cur­rently op­er­ates 112 flights a week from 13 key des­ti­na­tions in India to Sharjah and be­yond. “A steady growth has been recorded from Tier-I cities and new seg­ments of trav­ellers have also emerged, but at the same time we have seen a com­plete shift in the traf­fic mix from Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Ear­lier this de­mo­graphic was con­sid­ered as re­li­gious travel seg­ment or labour force travel where peo­ple trav­elled for work in the Gulf and Mid­dle East. But times have changed and a large seg­ment is trav­el­ling for leisure,” ob­serves Nene.

He fur­ther adds that In­dian out­bound num­bers have grown dras­ti­cally and di­ver­si­fied over seg­ments as com­pared to ear­lier times when peo­ple trav­elled only to visit friends and rel­a­tives (VFR). In­di­ans are now spend­ing more time in tak­ing shorter hol­i­days to des­ti­na­tions like Sharjah and be­yond to Ar­me­nia, Ge­or­gia, Kaza­khstan, Ukraine and Rus­sia. Ac­cord­ing to Nene, visa on ar­rival also plays a ma­jor role like for des­ti­na­tions like Jor­dan and Kenya.

A steady growth has been recorded from Tier-I cities and new seg­ments of trav­ellers have emerged, but we have seen a com­plete shift in the II and Tier-III cities

Sachin Nene Re­gional Gen­eral Man­ager-India Air Ara­bia

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