The 7th Arab Aviation Summit concluded last month with some impressive take-outs. More than 200 industry participants from 15 Arab countries attended the summit under the theme: “Time to Transform: Addressing sustainability challenges and opportunities for the regional aviation sector”.
Adel Al Ali, Arab Aviation Summit chairperson and group chief executive officer of Air Arabia, said, “There is no escaping the fact that our industry is affected by geo-political changes in the region. The status quo is no longer an option if the objective is commercial viability. Technology and travel habits for current and future travellers, millennials for example, is disrupting the norm but it is our future business. There is no better example to learn from than the success of Dubai and growth will not happen from protectionism but from addressing the challenges we face.”
Panelists of the first discussion entitled “The Pan-Arab air travel market – between growth and change”, stressed the importance of opening up the regional aviation markets, open skies and more leadership roles for women. They also agreed that regional governments need to learn from the openness of Dubai to continue being the fastest growing aviation market in the world.
Speaking about “Aviation as a key driver for sustainable development and how Arab consumer spending habits and trends are shaping the industry”, Bikram Pattanaik, senior managing consultant, Global Products and Solution, MasterCard, said, "Traditional travel loyalty programmes are at risk of being disrupted as price and increased convenience are not enough to create real brand loyalty; personalisation is now a must have and airlines are vulnerable to disruption by new travel leaders who can deliver more. Travel leaders of the future will strike an emotional chord where people actively seek them out, by becoming lifestyle brands.”
The panel discussion on ‘How travel & tourism is changing? Technology and consumer trends and their impact on the Arab travel sector’, was that customers want their responses served faster and data and content is key to achieving that. They also said that the travel agent will not disappear but their role may change and even with machine learning, there will be room in the market for everyone.
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