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Danielle Curtis Danielle Curtis

Staycations and Domestic Travel to Lead GCC Tourism Recovery

Local tourism and domestic travel are expected to lead the UAE and wider GCC’s recovery from COVID-19 as we begin to see the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to the latest research released ahead of Arabian Travel Market (ATM) Virtual, a newly-launched three-day event that will take place from June 01-03 of this year.

The research from Colliers International, in partnership with ATM, revealed the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48 km radius increased from just 20 percent in January of this year to 43 percent in March. While, in Dubai, the percentage rose from 19 percent to 36 percent.

Adding to this, 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 48 km radius accounted for 77 percent of all bookings in April and domestic travel from Dubai accounting for 91 percent of searches and bookings within the same radius.

Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, 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 of this year. 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.”

Curtis added, “Travellers still want to go on holiday, but safety has become a top priority. As a result, the staycation trend is expected to grow in the coming months, with residents keen to take a break away from their home for a few days in a location that is familiar to them, whilst flights are grounded, and international travel restrictions still in place."

Families and solo travellers are expected to be among the first market segments to start travelling and making new reservations, according to the research from Colliers. In addition, Millennials and Gen Z are being touted as the most eager to travel, as they seek a change of scenery following long lockdown periods across the globe.

In preparation for the travel and tourism recovery - on a local, regional and international level - it is crucial hospitality companies can provide future guests with peace of mind by implementing and virtually showcasing the stringent hygiene and deep cleaning procedures performed rigorously across their properties.