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‘Dubai is ready to welcome tourists’

Filed on August 29, 2020
Trust factor: Shubhojit Mahalanobis, GM at Danube Hospitality Solutions

Dubai — Several rules and regulations have been stipulated by the UAE authorities to ensure the safety and security of tourists as well as residents. For instance, all tourists entering the UAE need a negative Covid-19 PCR test. There are stringent rules that the hospitality industry has to adhere to as well, like routine sterilisation, mandatory temperature checks of their staff and guests, appointment of safety officers who ensure that cleaning and hygiene protocols are implemented to the highest standards and handle any questions or concerns guests’ may have. Shubhojit Mahalanobis, general manager at Danube Hospitality Solutions, asserts that such initiatives will help put peoples mind at ease during such unprecedented times.

On innovative initiatives by Dubai, he says that there was a 52 per cent decrease in occupancy levels in Dubai by May, compared to the corresponding period last year. However, July 2020 witnessed some considerable improvement in occupancy rates. “According to the latest statistics from the Department of Culture and Tourism, hotels in Abu Dhabi are busier this July than they were at the same time last year. Another green signal was seen in the surge in demand for luxury serviced apartments and holiday homes. Dubai, being a hub for business as well as tourism, has the least pronounced seasonality when it comes to hospitality as it caters to both commercial and leisure segments equally. Owing to this, Dubai will see a faster recovery than other GCC markets. Most of the current and future business growth is expected to come from domestic tourism and the rise in staycations.

He cites that according to a research from Colliers International, in partnership with Arabian Travel Market (ATM), local tourism and domestic travel are expected to lead the UAE and wider GCC’s recovery from Covid-19. The research also found that the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km 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. “Due to international travel restrictions post lockdown, many of the residents have been opting for mini getaways and staycations to luxury serviced apartments and holiday homes. People want to go on a holiday, but safety has become a top priority. As a result, the staycation trend is expected to grow in the coming months.”

Maintaining that IPL will boost people’s confidence in Dubai, Mahalanobis says that the cricketing extravaganza that generates a lot of revenue in India. “From hosting the teams, the media, sponsors and fans, the league generates F&B and events business for hotels as well. As per rough estimates, IPL generates an estimated 25,000 room nights for hotels in India. The shift of the IPL 2020 to the UAE due to the Covid-19 situation in India creates a lot of revenue opportunity for the UAE. This also boosts confidence for local and international tourists to feel absolutely safe about visiting the country. The Expo 2020 will also increase the tourists visiting the UAE in 2021, which would positively impact the retail, hospitality, and construction industries.”


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