KT special: More UAE residents are holidaying at local hotels
Experts have noted that the global hospitality industry will face uncertain times.
The rebound of the UAE's hospitality sector post Covid-19 will be led by the country's domestic market, with offerings that are catered around families and their needs, experts said.
Tim Cordon, area senior vice president for the Middle East & Africa at Radisson Hotel Group, noted that, based on previous crises, leisure travel is expected to recover quicker, particularly travel for visiting friends and relatives, followed by business travel.
"We can see that travellers still want to go on holiday, especially after being isolated for such a long time, but safety has become a top priority," he said. "As a result, there has definitely been a staycation trend, and it is expected to strengthen in the coming months. Therefore, we believe, the post Covid-19 recovery will be driven by a rebound in domestic tourism."
Looking at the current offerings, Cordon said that there is definitely no shortage in terms of staycation offers, and that residents will be seeing these for longer. "Whilst the staycation market is usually dominating the summer low, the current circumstances may lead to extended offers throughout the upcoming winter season."
He added: "The good news is that our colleagues around the globe are already seeing positive news and changes within the hospitality sector, but it has also become clearer that it will take some time for international travel to resume back to normal. As we enter this new era of travel, we will all need to implement various methods to ensure travellers maintain their personal space, making them and others feel safe and at ease."
Abdulla Al Abdouli, CEO of Marjan, also highlighted the increased interest in staycations over the Eid break and the past few months. He noted that the flagship destination in Ras Al Khaimah has always been a popular destination for families looking for some relaxation.
"We have always been a top pick for visitors looking for a great staycation, even before the Covid-19 pandemic," he said. "Families can enjoy great facilities at our hotels at great value for money. In addition, there is plenty of choice for all types of travellers, ranging from luxury offerings to more budget friendly options."
Al Abdouli highlighted several new projects that were in the pipeline for the destination that will build upon Ras Al Khaimah's hospitality offerings. Currently, Al Marjan Island has over 1,600 operational five-star hotel keys, including Rixos Hotels, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, and Accor Hotels brands. Upcoming openings include the Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island with 418 hotel keys, Hampton by Hilton on Al Marjan Island with 515 rooms, and Radisson Resort Ras Al Khaimah, Marjan Island with 400 rooms.
"Our goal is to develop 2,400 hotel, residential, and mixed-use units by 2025 with several already under design review or in different stages of completion," Al Abdouli said. "In all, Al Marjan Island will have 6,500 planned residential units, 8,000 planned hotel rooms and 400-room wellness retreats and 600 holiday villas."
"Covid-19 was a challenge that we were able to tackle efficiently because all the key players took action in a timely manner," he said. "We know that several things will be different in the future, but right now we are all focused on recovery."
"While we all would like a speedy recovery, I think the global hospitality industry will still face uncertain times until medical innovations are able to mitigate some of the fluctuating circumstances," added Cordon. "Every day is a new challenge, but Covid-19 has also taught us the importance of communications - internally with our guests, team members with our partners and locally. Being able to swiftly adapt, respond and implement will be key moving forward."
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