The Gulf tourism industry may have lost up to $ 60 billion during 2020 due to the ongoing restrictions related to the global Coronavirus pandemic.
Consultants Frost & Sullivan said in a new research report that the financial loss to the sector is expected to amount to $ 50-50 billion, with hotels potentially accounting for up to $ 15 billion in losses.
Frost & Sullivan said that growth in the Gulf tourism sector in the GCC region has reached about 10% over the past five years.
Based on this growth, total travel and tourism spending in the region was expected to reach $ 110 billion in 2020, but the coronavirus has changed things dramatically.
Frost & Sullivan said that as consumers leave their homes, perhaps for the first time since the global lockdown, they will still want the luxury of staying in the hotel, but they want to reduce their exposure to other guests than their families.
The consultants added also that while the Gulf tourism industry is in the process of re-discovering itself, it is prudent for decision-makers to understand the basics and ensure that this is not only done in the right areas but also with the right intent to check-in bells to keep ringing and continue to increase footsteps. Understanding it would be a journey. Consumer experience and innovation at every possible stage, to make consumers feel secure, is the key.
Dubai gradually reopened its tourism sector in July, while Abu Dhabi postponed until last month to allow international visitors. Saudi Arabia closed its air, land, and sea borders again on December 20 after the spread of a new type of Covid-19 virus and reopened on Sunday while Oman reopened on December 29.
The research said that the sector witnessed a growth in domestic tourism led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as most countries closed their borders to international visitors for long periods of the year. She added that 65% of all hotels in the region are expected to adopt biological bubbles – a safe and secure microenvironment, isolated from the outside world to reduce the risk of infection.
By design, it is only allowed for authorized persons and accountants to enter the protected area after testing negative for the virus. The report indicated that the IPL T20 Championship in the UAE pioneered the game of Bio-Bubble and implemented a tournament in which more than 300 participants participated in 24 matches in three cities without injuries.
Frost & Sullivan also said it expects the global cloud kitchen market to grow to $ 1 trillion by 2030, with operators having a strong foothold in the heavy and urbanized GCC market.
More people stay at home for long periods of time as organizations adopt remote work to counter the impact of the virus. These fuels demand whatever industrial kitchens serve it and get food and beverage operators to deliver it to homes across the country. In addition, as the likelihood of residents visiting crowded destinations, including restaurants, has decreased, demand has become an imperative of the hour.
The report added that in the future, we will witness more experiments like ghost kitchens that can meet the growing demand for delivery, third-party delivery will be a trend that will replace the current staple of eating-out.