Future of travel and tourism is bright: Air Arabia CEO
The future of the travel and tourism sectors in the UAE are looking bright, as an increasing number of travellers take to the skies for their vacations and holidays, said Adel Abdullah Ali, group CEO of Air Arabia and chairman of Cozmo Travel.
Speaking to Khaleej Times at the opening of Cozmo Travel's 37th branch in the UAE, he expressed his confidence in the travel industry in the Middle East region, and shared his thoughts on what the future will bring. "Travel and tourism is an industry which, if history is a good indicator, will continue to grow. As with any industry, there will be a number of ups and downs, but I think that the travel and tourism industries are here to stay and grow steadily in the next few years. One of the reasons for this is because people today lead a more pressured life, and this means that they are looking for more time and opportunities to relax."
Ali also highlighted how technology and social media have played a key role in encouraging more people to travel. "In the past, there was a misconception that technology would lead to a reduced desire to travel, but the opposite has proven to be true. People look at destinations and cultures around the world through social media and they want to experience it; the more you learn about a place, the more you want to go and see it for yourself. Young travellers especially are global citizens that want to travel and learn about new locations, and this is good for the travel industry."
He also noted that low cost carriers have played an important role in changing travel from it being an elite product to something that is now within the reach of millions around the world. "It is seen less as a luxury, and more as a means of transportation. This has impacted several sectors that have grown alongside the airline industry. Flying in a low cost airline is definitely a different experience - we may not give you caviar, but we will ensure that you have a safe and extremely comfortable flight."
Asked if there were any updates on Air Arabia Abu Dhabi, the new joint venture between Air Arabia and Etihad Airways, Ali said that he was "very happy" and that it was "good to be in the capital."
"We are very happy to have forged a good relationship with Etihad Airways. Following the processes to ensure that all the technical requirements are met, we will announce the routes for the airline. There are a lot of formalities that are involved in getting the routes from governments in both destinations. However, we are working very hard to launch the routes," he said.
He added: "The objective has always been to serve the routes that are currently not being served from Abu Dhabi. Air Arabia and Etihad Airways will complement each other and help each other in capturing a bigger share of the market; it is a win-win situation. It is also good for the UAE that two companies from different emirates have come together to join hands, and are now working together in the capital."
Speaking about Cozmo's growth across the region, and its new brand identity, Ali said that the brand "follows the Air Arabia story."
"Both brands had very humble beginnings but grew into a very big business. Today, Cozmo is a company that has several branches in numerous countries and is dedicated to serving numerous communities," he said.
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