In anticipation of substantial airfare reductions after mid-January 2024, particularly in the UAE, the travel industry is poised for a significant shift. Malou Prado, CEO of MPQ Travel and Tourism, highlights that the most pronounced fare decreases, possibly up to 50-60%, will be observed on long-haul routes from the UAE. This follows the peak winter travel demand, which has driven exceptionally high airfares, posing challenges for last-minute bookings.
The expected drop in airfare rates is set to benefit various high-traffic routes, including those to the UK, major European cities, South Asia, the Philippines, and even longer routes like the US. For instance, economy class fares from London Heathrow to Dubai International are projected to decrease from Dh5,135 to Dh2,410. Similar reductions are expected for routes from New York and San Francisco to Dubai.
Afi Ahmed, Chairman of Smart Travels, emphasizes that this low fare phase is likely to extend until around March 10. This duration is attributed to reduced travel demand from families with school-going children and business travelers. This period is seen as opportune for budget-conscious travelers to visit the UAE.
Despite the current high ticket rates, projected to be over 25-50% higher than those in September and early October, the upcoming months are expected to provide more budget-friendly options. Carlo Olejniczak, Vice-President and Managing Director for Booking.com in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, notes strong growth in bookings for the first quarter of the year, indicating sustained demand for travel.
The International Air Travel Association (IATA) forecasts a significant rebound in global travel, with an estimated 4.7 billion people expected to travel in 2024, surpassing the pre-pandemic levels of 4.5 billion in 2019. This optimistic outlook underscores the resilience and recovery of the travel industry on a global scale.