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Dubai tourism likely to see a recovery this year

19 May 2021

Staycations and regional tourism are expected to fuel Dubai tourism this year, and it is hoped that Dubai will see a boost in tourism this summer, even as international coronavirus-related travel restrictions persist.

Although full recovery of the tourism sector is expected only by 2023-2024, when a vast majority would be vaccinated, the Sofitel and Raffles Dubai Chief, Ammar Hilal, who spoke to the media said, the launch of Expo 2020 this October will be the beginning of tourism’s recovery in Dubai.

“With many not travelling to Europe and Asia this summer, we will definitely have people who will remain here, and I think last summer clearly proved that the staycation business has worked extremely well,” said Hilal.

Apart from domestic tourism, Hilal expects a strong pick-up from regional markets including Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with travel bans lifted and restrictions easing out.

For instance, Saud Arabia has opened up for everyone who is vaccinated, and already the change is evident. Further, over the past week, between Raffles Dubai and Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk, there was an increase of about 30 to 40 rooms per property per day from the Saudi market, in comparison to the same period last year, Hilal explained.

If Europe is not too open for tourism, people in the region would want to visit Dubai, he pointed out.

After more than a year of living under the stress of coronavirus, and various lockdowns, consumers are more sustainability-conscious, and this has reflected on the hospitality sector, Hilal said, as guests expect more environmental considerations from hotels such as being plastic-free, having green meeting rooms etc (with no recycled stationery being provided).

Travelers are also seeking out personal wellbeing experiences when they travel. “A holistic wellness offering will become a very essential part of the future guest experience – not only in resorts but also in city hotels,” said Hilal.

Even in terms of eating habits, today people are more health conscious and trends like vegan cuisine may continue to persist as hotel chefs are utilizing more locally sourced food products.

With technology making our lives a lot easier and efficient, a lot of elements including check-ins and check-outs will be automated in the hotels in future, Hilal said, while adding that there will be no replacing of human element when it comes to hospitality.

Robin Vinod

Writer/blogger who writes on topics such as travel, real estate, employment and everyday life on GCC countries.

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