Report: Staycations and domestic travel to lead GCC tourism recovery

Published: 21 May 2020 - 3:30 a.m.
By: Hotelier Middle East Staff
Echoing earlier research by Sojern, Colliers International in partnership with ATM has found that local tourism and domestic travel is likely to lead the GGC’s road to recovery from COVID-19.

The percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius hiked from 20% in January to 43% in March. While in Dubai, the percentage grew from 19% to 36%. The findings add to Sojern’s projection that staycations will become the most popular form of holiday in the short to medium-term. Sojern data revealed that hotel bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius accounted for 77% of all April bookings and 91% for Dubai.

With these projections in mind, ATM has unveiled ‘The Hotel Landscape in a Post-COVID-19 World’ session. The session will explore the profound impact of the pandemic on the Middle Eastern hospitality sector and outline what the industry will look like once travel resumes. It will also dive into the question of ‘what is the new normal?’

Taking place on June 1 from 1:30pm – 2:30pm GST, the session panellists include Radisson Hotel Group senior area VP for MEA Tim Cordon and Colliers International head of hotels MEA Christopher Lund.

ATM exhibition director ME Danielle Curtis explained: “Travellers still want to go on holiday, but safety has become a top priority. As a result, the staycation trend is expected to grow in the coming months, with residents keen to take a break away from their home for a few days in a location that is familiar to them, whilst flights are grounded, and international travel restrictions still in place."

Families and solO travellers are expected to be among the first market segments to restart travel plans according to Colliers. Likewise, Millennials and Gen Zers are thought to be the most eager to return to travel. In preparation for this recovery, hospitality companies are urged by ATM to provide guests with peace of mind by showcasing hygiene and cleaning procedures.

“As travel and tourism begins to return, it is crucial that hotels add value to their existing offerings with incentives such as F&B discounts for in-house guests, free upgrades and booking flexibility that enables free cancellation if personal circumstances were to change as well as reinvented loyalty programmes with increased offers and points in an attempt to stimulate demand through their existing customer bases,” Curtis said.

These discussions and many more will all be covered at ATM Virtual which takes place June 1 to 3.


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