Gulf tourism seen bouncing back

DUBAI - The tourism and hospitality sector must change to counter the effects of global downturn, according to a senior official of Gulf Air.

By A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 16 Apr 2003, 12:23 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 7:40 PM

Addressing industry leaders at the Dubai chapter of Skal, James Hogan, president and chief executive of Gulf Air, said change and reaction to altered consumer needs is critical for success. While conceding the fact that the airline industry was facing its worst-ever spell, following on from the war in Iraq and the SARS crisis, he stressed this is part of the cyclical nature of business. He felt the region will bounce back, and sooner rather than later.

"What is critical for all of us in the service industry is that we look to change and adapt to take our businesses forward. And following this global downturn in tourism, we have to identify the gaps in operations, as we - and the customer - embark on a journey of change," he said.

Hogan said Gulf Air was well placed to make a quick recovery from the downturn, which occurred end of March and early April. He said: "Although we are only in the initial phase of our three-year turnaround strategy, the changes we have implemented to date have made a quantifiable difference to the commercial operation of the airline."

Despite the negative impact of the conflict, Gulf Air achieved an average 3.7 per cent improvement in traffic over the first quarter of 2003 compared to the same period last year.

On the airline's commitment to the region, Hogan said: "We feel destination management is key, and we will be pro-active in promoting Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Oman around the world, especially in Europe."

The Dubai chapter of Skal, the international organisation of tourism leaders, was launched in September with the support of Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing, and 20 founding members. The membership has risen to more than 50 in just six months.

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