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Six Ways Technology is Transforming Travel in the Middle East

From flashy stunts like customer service robots to driverless sanitizing vehicles, the Middle East has embraced astonishingly advanced tech to meet its needs.

While the pandemic hit the travel industry hard, it also kicked off a full-on digital race, helping major players adapt to the troubles of the times. Here are some of the most innovative tech solutions taking over the Middle East, from intelligent data-driven platforms to robotic sidekicks…


UNMANNED SANITATION VEHICLES IN ABU DHABI AIRPORT

Abu Dhabi Airports is one of the first airports in the world to deploy unmanned sanitation vehicles, rolling out the new CoDi BOT UGV to streamline the disinfection process across a number of areas in the airport, from the staff areas and cargo facilities to aircraft cabins and bathrooms. These new vehicles are designed to mitigate the spread of disease by targeting strains on surfaces with germicidal UV rays and screening individuals with thermal infrared monitoring.


BAHRAIN’S GULF AIR EMBRACES BOOKING AUTOMATION

Following the first global lockdown in March 2020, Bahrain’s national carrier, Gulf Air, used the downtime to integrate a fully-digitized booking solution platform. The airline adopted travel technology provider ANIXE’s Resfinity Air platform, enabling them to digitally reallocate aircrafts, change cabin class seating ratios and enhance its online bookings.


FUNDOK, UAE’S NEWLY-LAUNCHED GUEST MANAGEMENT PLATFORM

Fundok is a newly-launched guest management platform based in Dubai, geared towards user-centric services and contactless interactions. Through Fundok, hotel owners and hosts can easily access destination insights and a range of digital services. Guests also have access to services such as check-ins/check-outs, concierge services and room guides all through tablets in rooms or on their own mobile phones. Since its launch, Fundok has grown over 300%, with a recent expansion into Egypt.


WEGO APP’S ENHANCED COVID TRAVEL ADVISORY FEATURE

Wego, one of the MENA region’s largest online travel marketplace, recently unveiled a new COVID travel feature to encourage travel during the pandemic. The latest iteration of ‘Travel Advisory’ enables users to discover destinations they are eligible to visit based on country of origin and vaccination status. This intuitive tool centralizes all information pertaining to entry requirements, giving travellers comprehensive details on the destination country’s quarantine and PCR testing rules.


KANOO TRAVEL’S CUSTOMIZED TECH-ENABLED BOOKING PLATFORM

Kanoo Travel, one of the oldest and largest travel companies in the Middle East, is harnessing the power of Sabre’s cutting-edge technology to develop its own customized platform called Kanoo Krystal. Kanoo Travels is equipped with intelligent technology and backed by data-driven insights that enable intuitive and flexible travel shopping and booking.


DUBAI’S ROBOT RENAISSANCE

Along with using germ-busting robots to disinfect public spaces like hospitals and airports to safeguard travellers’ health, Dubai is integrating robotic technology into a number of hospitality and travel services across the spectrum. Last year, Dubai International Airport welcomed a new robot named ‘Rahal’ tasked with assisting with customer service at Terminal 3, the world’s largest airport terminal.


360-DEGREE VR TOURISM WITH AROUND EGYPT APP

Egypt-based VR app, Around Egypt, was made to stimulate and promote tourism in Egypt in light of the pandemic. Although this app doesn’t physically teleport you to Egypt, it does give you front-row tickets to some of its most iconic spots from the comfort of your own home. Around Egypt app offers fully immersive, 360-degree virtual tours, with commentary and notes by Egyptologists and local experts. Aside from exploring the sights, users also have access to a wealth of useful information such as ticket prices, opening hours and even walk-through audio tours.