June 15, 2022 tourism

High demand on travel despite rising ticket prices


KUWAIT: Despite the high prices of airline tickets, travelers are choosing to bear the soaring costs, especially after a long pause in travel and ending of restrictions in most countries due to the coronavirus pandemic. Demand for air tickets has exceeded expectations, CEO of Delta Airlines Ed Bastian said during an airline industry conference. He also said post-pandemic airfares have risen globally by around 30 percent.

Regarding the reasons for price hikes, Saeed Radwan, a ticketing and reservation officer at a travel agency, told Kuwait Times that “taxes imposed by airlines have increased by 15 percent due to high fuel prices, which automatically increased ticket prices”, pointing out the travel season usually witnesses price rises.

“Most travel agencies do not have any promotions for tourist destinations this year compared to last summer, which led to the price hikes,” Radwan added. He stressed that despite the high prices of tickets, demand for tourist destinations continues among Kuwaitis, especially to Europe and Turkey.

Ehab Hani, general manager of a travel agency, told Kuwait Times: “Ticket prices have risen by around 20 percent, which is much higher than last year due to the pandemic, which is unjustified, while taxes are continuously rising since the Ukraine war.” Hani pointed out that airline companies are taking advantage of travelers who are willing to pay in order to travel for tourism purposes or visit their home countries after more than two years.

“Airline companies have price categories for certain seats, and many of them block cheap seats on their websites, which indirectly forces travelers to buy the more expensive seats, which will give them high profits,” Hani said, adding “there is no law that prevents this.” “Some airlines increase the price of tickets before the traveler makes the final booking without referring to us or the client, which is unethical and leads to losing customers,” he added.

Hani stressed such actions by airlines has not dented demand for traveling among citizens or expats. Regarding the most expensive destinations, Hani said Istanbul has the most exaggerated prices, as the original price for a roundtrip economy class ticket, which was between KD 120 and KD 180, has today exceeded KD 320, while a business class ticket costs between KD 500 and KD 550.

“Airfares to Geneva and London have increased significantly. Tickets to Geneva before the pandemic were priced between KD 600 and KD 700, but now it is more than KD 1,100, while airfares to London have increased by about 40 percent,” Hani said. He said the most in-demand destinations among expats are Egypt, India and Philippines. Prices of tickets to Egypt have increased by 15 percent on average, which is not considered high due to many options available for travelers.

Several international studies indicate there are many reasons for the high prices of air tickets. Not all of them are caused by the airlines itself, such as fuel price hikes, large planes being grounded, travelers upgrading to higher classes for leisure trips and shortage of staff.

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