Speaking exclusively to Hotelier Middle East, Gates Hospitality chief executive and founder Naim Maadad shared his thoughts on the current state of the hospitality sector.
In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, members of senior management teams at leading hotel brands in the region have been effective in communicating standard operating procedures (SOPs) to its guests and the media with regards to efforts on hygiene and safety. However, more transparency is needed if the industry is to weather this storm.
When asked about the government initiatives being rolled out in light of the crisis, Maadad said: “The current situation is being faced by the global community and until the world opens up again, there is not much that can be done. In fairness, the government authorities have announced a couple of relief measures to the industry in the form of tax and fees being halved. This is the time, and rightly so, where the focus is the management of crisis and not finding the solution to problems being faced by the industry. The right time to accelerate plans and support the businesses would be after medical treatment has been found and travel opens up. Only then can the economy be revived and the industry can start to crawl back slowly but steadily into normalcy.”
In the meantime, properties are doing what they can to support those affected by the pandemic. He explained: “As this is a global crisis and we are still fighting the unknown without having a clarity on the medical solution, the hotel industry is freeing up its room inventory to authorities to be used as isolation rooms for those who have tested positive for the COVID-19. As long as global travel is closed, hotel inventory will remain empty and very little else can be done during this period.”
Maadad concluded by saying: “Once the medical research fraternity clears the route, the spread has stopped and the virus is fully eradicated, then a lot of effort would be needed by all the stakeholders to come together and save the industry. It would indeed be a humongous task but would need to be done to save the various businesses on which we all depend.”