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    Global air travel reaches 99 per cent of pre-pandemic traffic

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    The latest International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) released data showed that air travel demand topped 99 per cent of 2019 levels last November.

    Total traffic in November 2023 (measured in revenue passenger kilometers or RPKs) rose 29.7 per cent compared to November 2022. Globally, traffic is now at 99.1 per cent of November 2019 levels.

    International traffic rose 26.4 per cent versus November 2022. The Asia-Pacific region continued to report the strongest year-over-year results (+63.8 per cent) with all regions showing improvement compared to the prior year. November 2023 international RPKs reached 94.5 per cent of November 2019 levels.

    Domestic traffic for November 2023 was up 34.8 per cent compared to November 2022. Total November 2023 domestic traffic was 6.7 per cent above the November 2019 level.

    Growth was particularly strong in China (+272 per cent) as it recovered from the COVID travel restrictions that were still in place a year ago. U.S. domestic travel, benefiting from strong Thanksgiving holidays demand, reached a new high, expanding +9.1 per cent over November 2019.

    IATA’s Director General, Willie Walsh, said air transport is moving ever closer to surpassing the 2019 peak year for air travel.

    Walsh said: “Economic headwinds are not deterring people from taking to the skies. International travel remains 5.5 per cent below pre-pandemic levels but that gap is rapidly closing. And domestic markets have been above their pre-pandemic levels continuously since April.”

    In the regional performances, African airlines had a 22.1 per cent rise in November RPKs versus a year ago. November 2023 capacity was up 29.6 per cent and load factor fell 4.3 percentage points to 69.7 per cent – the lowest among regions.

    Asia-Pacific airlines had a 63.8 per cent rise in November traffic compared to November 2022, which was the strongest year-over-year rate among the regions. Capacity rose 58.0 per cent and the load factor was up 2.9 percentage points to 82.6 per cent.

    European carriers’ November traffic climbed 14.8 per cent versus November 2022. Capacity increased 15.2 per cent, and load factor declined 0.3 percentage points to 83.3 per cent.

    Middle Eastern airlines saw an 18.6 per cent traffic rise in November compared to November 2022. November capacity increased 19.0 per cent versus the year-ago period, and load factor fell 0.2 percentage points to 77.4 per cent.

    North American carriers experienced a 14.3 per cent traffic rise in November versus the 2022 period. Capacity increased 16.3 per cent, and the load factor fell 1.4 percentage points to 80.0 per cent.

    Latin American airlines’ November traffic rose 20.0 per cent compared to the same month in 2022. November capacity climbed 17.7 per cent and load factor increased 1.7 percentage points to 84.9 per cent, the highest of any region.

    Walsh noted that aviation’s rapid recovery from COVID demonstrates just how important flying is to people and businesses.

    “In parallel to aviation’s recovery, governments recognised the urgency of transitioning from jet fuel to Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for aviation’s decarbonisation.

    “The Third Conference on Aviation Alternative Fuels (CAAF/3) in November saw governments agree that we should see 5 per cent carbon savings by 2030 from SAF. This was followed up at COP28 in December where governments agreed that we need a broad transition from fossil fuels to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

    “Airlines don’t need convincing. They agreed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and every drop of SAF ever made in that effort has been bought and used. There simply is not enough SAF being produced.
    “So, we look to 2024 to be the year when governments follow-up on their own declarations and finally deliver comprehensive policy measures to incentivize the rapid scaling-up of SAF production,” Walsh said.

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    Minister Leads Nigeria’s Delegation To 121st UN Tourism Executive Council

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    Nigeria has joined 11 other elected African member countries to participate at the 121st session of the United Nations Tourism Executive Council held in Barcelona, Spain.

    According to the Ministry of Tourism statement, the country was represented by the Minister, Lola Ade-John, as the event further ‘reinforces Nigeria’s commitment to advancing global tourism.’

    The Council, which meets biannually, serves as the governing body of UN Tourism. In collaboration with the Secretary-General, the Council is responsible for making pivotal decisions on various aspects of the organization and its initiatives, which are subsequently presented to the General Assembly for ratification.

    The ministry further disclosed that Nigeria’s presence in the Executive Council ‘highlights the nation’s growing influence and dedication to promoting tourism as a key driver of economic growth, cultural exchange, and sustainable development.’

    Remarking, the minister, Lola Ade-John, expressed her gratitude for Nigeria’s role in the Council and reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to contributing to the global tourism agenda.
    “Our participation in the UN Tourism Executive Council is a testament to Nigeria’s vibrant tourism sector and our dedication to fostering international cooperation in tourism. We look forward to working closely with other member states to promote sustainable tourism practices that benefit all,” she said.

    The Nigerian minister further emphasized the country’s ongoing initiatives to enhance its tourism infrastructure, improve visitor experiences, and protect its cultural and natural heritage. Nigeria’s active participation in the UN Tourism Executive Council will further these efforts, providing valuable opportunities for collaboration and knowledge exchange with other leading nations in the tourism sector.

    Continuing, the minister stressed that as the country ’embarks on this new chapter within UN Tourism, it remains committed to leveraging its rich cultural heritage, diverse landscapes, and hospitality to attract tourists from around the world, contributing to the global tourism industry’s growth and sustainability.’

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    Air Passengers Experience Luxury As AltClub Opens At Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos

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    With the opening of Altclub by The Alternative Bank, passengers at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal 2 (MMA2) can now experience an enhanced degree of luxury and convenience.

    The cutting-edge premium area meets customers’ basic banking needs while providing an opulent haven for them to unwind and rejuvenate before their flights.

    The Alternative Bank claims that Altclub, a division of Alttravel, a digital travel finance product, was created to improve Nigerians’ ease of access to and convenience from travel.

    With its “Travel Now, Pay Later” model, Alttravel offers the greatest amount of freedom and does away with the requirement for advance payments.

    At the opening event, Mohammed Yunusa, Director of Digital Business and Innovations at The Alternative Bank, emphasised the importance of Altclub.

    “Altclub isn’t just a lounge; it’s a sanctuary of comfort and convenience. Gone are the days of sacrificing relaxation for travel formalities. Our lounge offers a luxurious space where travellers can unwind and rejuvenate before their flights, free from the typical travel stress,” Yunusa said.

    The national brand news further discloses that apart from providing a peaceful setting for unwinding, Altclub offers several facilities to meet the requirements of tourists, such as refreshments, fast Wi-Fi, and electrical outlets for charging gadgets.

    “Altclub is exclusively available to The Alternative Bank customers, showcasing our commitment to their comfort and convenience. Present your boarding pass and proof of Altbank membership at the entrance, and our dedicated staff will ensure a seamless and enjoyable pre-flight experience,”
    Korede Demola-Adeniyi, Executive Director of Sales at The Alternative Bank, added.

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    10 best countries for tourists to visit in 2024 — Nigeria is not 1 of them

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    The United States achieved a significant victory on the international stage, being named the best country for travel and tourism in 2024 by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

    As CNN describes, the rankings are based on a number of criteria, including infrastructure, natural resources, sustainability, labour availability and price competitiveness.

    However, it’s worth noting that WEF’s data focuses on tourism-related aspects such as hotels, airports, attractions, airlines – and not on travelers’ on-site experiences.

    Europe is strongly represented in the top 10, with six countries on the list, including Spain in second place. In the WEF report, this continent was defined as “a dynamic destination with strong intra-regional flows”

    The continent earned high marks for rail connections, strong economies, stability of the euro and pound and increased mobility of Europeans, which translates into spending money.

    The strength of European passports was also a significant factor in the ranking. In 2024, six countries – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore and Spain – shared the top spot for the world’s most powerful passports according to the Henley Index, and this data was included in the WEF report.

    According to the report, “In 2024, global tourism growth is expected to be boosted by meeting pent-up demand and growth in major Asian markets as travel restrictions are lifted.”

    Japan, ranked number three, is experiencing a tourism boom as borders reopen after the pandemic. China, which ranked eighth, has taken steps to make it easier for tourists to visit by waiving visa requirements for residents of several European countries.

    However, not all countries in the top 10 have reasons to be happy. Spain and Italy, despite their high positions in the ranking, are struggling with the problem of excessive tourism, which leads to conflicts with local communities.

    Here is the full list of the 10 best countries for travel and tourism according to the World Economic Forum

    1 –United States
    2 –Spain
    3 –Japan
    4 –France
    5 –Australia
    6 –Germany
    7 –Great Britain
    8 –China
    9 –Italy
    10 –Switzerland

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