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Domestic tourism and travel to drive post-Covid GCC recovery

Issac John /Dubai
issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com Filed on May 17, 2020
The World Travel & Tourism Council estimates that the travel and tourism sector accounts for 10 per cent of total jobs and GDP globally. - File photo

75 million travel tourism jobs are at risk globally due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The post Covid recovery of the UAE and wider GCC is expected to be driven by a rebound in domestic tourism and travel sector, according to a study.

The research by Colliers International, in partnership with Arabian Travel Market Virtual, revealed the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48 km radius increased from just 20 per cent in January 2020 to 43 per cent in March, while in Dubai the percentage rose from 19 per cent to 36 per cent.

A research by Sojern suggests staycations are expected to become the most popular choice of travel in the short to medium-term, with data revealing hotel bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius accounted for 77 per cent of all bookings in April and domestic travel from Dubai accounting for 91 per cent of searches and bookings within the same radius.

According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, the travel and tourism sector accounts for 10 per cent of total jobs and GDP globally. That's an estimated $8.8 trillion annually.

On April 3, WTTC said in a release that 75 million travel tourism jobs are at risk globally due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director Middle East, Arabian Travel Market, said the global Covid-19 health crisis severely impacted worldwide travel, tourism, events, and leisure activities, with many people being forced to cancel or postpone their travel plans in the first half of 2020.

"However, what we are now beginning to see is a sense of pent up demand due to an eagerness among the larger populace to make up for lost time and cancelled plans."

A breakdown of international and domestic travel prospects shows an interesting outlook for the hospitality and tourism industry. Experts believe that for the foreseeable future, domestic travel will be more dominant than previously. A study conducted on the behalf of the International Air Transport Association shows that 60 per cent of travellers are likely to return to flying within one to two months of containment of the pandemic. However, as many as 40 per cent of respondents reported that they would put off travel for at least six months.

"The travel and tourism industry, one of the global growth engines, is bearing the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic's damage. To revive the industry, recovery of domestic travel businesses should be the first step," said Jane Sun, Trip.com Group CEO. - issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

author

Issac John

Editorial Director of Khaleej Times, is a well-connected Indian journalist and an economic and financial commentator. He has been in the UAE's mainstream journalism for 35 years, including 23 years with Khaleej Times. A post-graduate in English and graduate in economics, he has won over two dozen awards. Acclaimed for his authentic and insightful analysis of global and regional businesses and economic trends, he is respected for his astute understanding of the local business scene.


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