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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Has travel become safe and affordable?

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Over the last two decades, travel to and from anywhere in the world has become possible for tourists with the emergence of online platforms that help customers to compare hotel rates, travel packages, and low airfares.


As airfares constitute nearly 40 per cent of international travel expenses, the advent of low-cost or budget airlines made it possible for middle-class tourists to travel anywhere in the world.


According to IATA, over the past three decades, low-cost carriers (LCCs) transformed the air travel market, disrupting the traditional world of the legacy national airlines, and creating a revolution in air travel service.


According to one estimate, low-cost carriers have been carrying over 30 per cent of the scheduled passengers in the world.


Speaking to the Observer, a travel operator, said: “In the Middle East, including in the Sultanate of Oman, we have seen budget airlines making promoting new destinations in Central Asia and East Europe and the Middle East, which are much more affordable compared to places in West Europe, the United States and even Far East Asia.”


In the Sultanate of Oman, the launch of the budget airline, SalamAir, opened several destinations such as Istanbul, Rize, Trabzon, Baku, Almaty, Praque and Sarajevo among others.


Other airlines in the Middle East too have been offering affordable air travel to tourists to both inbound and outbound tourists.


It is not just the budget airlines that have made travel possible for travellers, platforms such as booking.com and TripAdvisor also play important roles in making travel safe and customised.


“Travelling with packages is simple but expensive, but tourists have several options to choose destinations as per their purchasing limits. They can choose a one-star hotel or apartment if cannot afford a five-star hotel,” said Ahmed Sharif, who recently made a trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.


“Tourists coming to the Sultanate of Oman also have options to avail facilities such as accommodations of choice, airport pickups, local transportation, and guided tours to anywhere in the country. The advancement of navigation applications such as Google Maps made it possible for travellers to calculate local commuting time and distance and avoid falling victim to fraudsters,” said Alisah Patel, who arranged a tour of the Sultanate of Oman for friends.


“With online platforms offering the users to review their experience for future customers or travellers, most customers have an idea of the quality of facilities at the place or property well in advance. Customers point out if they have deprived themselves of a service that was offered to our past clients,” said a hotel manager.


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