CEO of hotel giant IHG reveals post-Covid standards for its 5,600 properties

Keith Barr CEO IHG

SUMMIT NEWS June 8, 2020

One of the world’s biggest hotel chains has laid out the standards that will ensure post-pandemic safety for guests at its 5,600 hotels across 100 countries.

‘We’re making sure that we provide a safe environment so customers can enjoy themselves because they do want to travel,’ InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) CEO Keith Barr.

That means no more than three people will be allowed into an elevator at the same time,  buffets and restaurants will be eliminated in favor of grab-and-go dining, and room service will be contactless.

Mr Barr is a guest panellist at a special virtual summit The Future of Travel & Tourism on Wednesday June 10, 2020.

He will be part of a session titled ‘Planning for the future: Understanding globalisation in the post Covid-19 world and the investment measures needed to boost recovery of the global travel and tourism industry’ from 11am (UK time).

Barr, who stepped in the CEO role at IHG three years ago heads a chain, which includes popular brands like Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and Regent Hotels and Resorts, also said that swimming pools in his hotels will be socially distanced.

THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM VIRTUAL CONFERENCE June 10, 2020 DETAILS & REGISTRATION

There will be temperature screening at the front desks, hand sanitizer stations positioned throughout the facility, social distancing markers in public areas, and decluttering rooms in the public spaces to make sure that high-touch items are no longer present.

Barrtold ABC News in an interview that he expects demand for hotel rooms to pick up toward the summer as travelers will be getting into their cars rather than flying in planes to take vacations.

‘We think we are going to have a lot of domestic travel and not a lot of international travel, and it will be drive because people feel comfortable getting in their cars and driving to stay at a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express,’ he said.

‘That’s going to be the travel trend, with fewer people wanting to get on flights.’

Earlier this month, InterContinental Hotels said it expects revenue per available room to plunge 80 per cent in April compared with last year and that the coronavirus crisis was the biggest challenge the hotel industry ever faced.

InterContinental Hotels Group has also introduced a new global standard of hotel cleanliness and hygiene following a major collaboration with internal and external specialists in operations, health, safety and guest experience.

The experts, collectively known as the IHG Global Cleanliness Board, liaised heavily with Cleveland Clinic Chief Clinical Transformation Officer, James Merlino, to design the company’s new best practices and implementation processes.

Building on IHG’s ‘Way of Clean’ program – which launched in 2015 in partnership with hygiene and cleaning technology brands Ecolab and Diversey – guests can expect to see enhanced and more visible cleaning practices in effect. These may include a reduction of high-touch in-room furnishings, new laundry protocols and visual verification of sanitised items such as glassware and the television remote control.

Underpinning the new hygiene regime is a ‘Clean Promise’ from IHG which states that if a guest is unsatisfied with the standard of cleanliness in their room, the property will immediately rectify the situation. The new policy took effect from June 1, 2020.

More visible charts informing guests when an area was last cleaned will pop up around hotel public spaces and facilities including fitness centres, swimming pools, lounges, restaurants and bars. Along with social distancing measures, new practices at hotel buffets, room services, catering and banquets are likely to be introduced in line with local health requirements.

Register Free to be part of the virtual summit on June 10, 2020, begins 9.15am (GMT+1) HERE

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SPEAKERS JUNE 10 2020

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theFuture of Travel June 10

REGISTER The ITIC-WTM virtual conference is FREE to attend online.

It focuses on three themes:

1. Health: dealing with Covid-19, and how we restore travellers’ confidence and rebuild business.

2. Investment: understanding the financial mechanisms that allow you to survive and rebuild.

3. Future: This may not be the last crisis, how can you prepare for any future global catastrophe

This virtual summit uses the latest video technology, viewable on your browser, will bring together more than 2,000 attendees in an interactive environment.

Virtual summit guest says governments must enforce social distancing to ensure tourism can start

Summit News 7th June 2020

Global hospitality will be more competitive than ever as the world reopens, with destinations urged to prepare now for the return of guests.

And for those nations that have Covid-19 under control tourism will return and it’ll happen fast, says Haitham Mattar, senior advisor at the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Tourism, who will be making his third conference appears in eight days pressing for tourism to reopen.

Mr Mattar is a guest panellist at a special virtual summit The Future of Travel & Tourism on Wednesday June 10, 2020.

He will be part of a session titled ‘The way forward: Foresights, initiatives and changing paradigms.’

Mattar has been speaking at two virtual conference last week during ATM’s three-days of virtual webinars and conferences considering the future of travel.

He told conference delegates: “Consumers, travellers, they want to book – live data from Google, Amadeus and others shows this.

“Small numbers for now, certainly, but it is happening – from July forward we will see a return in demand for destinations that have shown they have Covid-19 under control.”

He believes it is the responsility of individual governments to ensure safe, social distancing was enforced if safe travel was to be provided: “We need governments to rigorously enforce physical distancing and other measures to rebuild confidence – but guests will return.

THE FUTURE OF TRAVEL & TOURISM VIRTUAL CONFERENCE June 10, 2020 DETAILS & REGISTRATION

“This is going to be a great opportunity for countries to get back into the market.

“Destinations must have a plan, must have a recovery strategy and must start negotiations with online travel agencies to speak to consumers who are ready to travel.”

His remarks come as countries across the world began to relax strict lockdowns introdcued earlier this year in an effort to save lives and slow the spread of the virus.

Mattar says destinations must be ready for the gradual return of hospitality he shares the belief that domestic tourism is the initial key to unlocking the hospitality sector, ensuring jobs are not lost and facilities can survive.

“We will see a three-phase approach,” he said, “beginning with domestic travel.

“Where you have scale, such as the USA, Germany and others, domestic travellers will be the first to return to market.

“Then regional travel, before going global.”

He continued: “We need to take action today to get people arriving in three months’ time.

“Every destination will reopen, and it will be very competitive once the reopening does start, and people need to prepare today.”

His thoughts were echoed by WTTC ambassador, Gerald Lawless, at the conference on the first day of ATM 2020.

Register Free to be part of the virtual summit on June 10, 2020, begins 9.15am (GMT+1) HERE

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theFuture of Travel June 10

REGISTER The ITIC-WTM virtual conference is FREE to attend online.

It focuses on three themes:

1. Health: dealing with Covid-19, and how we restore travellers’ confidence and rebuild business.

2. Investment: understanding the financial mechanisms that allow you to survive and rebuild.

3. Future: This may not be the last crisis, how can you prepare for any future global catastrophe

This virtual summit uses the latest video technology, viewable on your browser, will bring together more than 2,000 attendees in an interactive environment.

PRESS RELEASE: WTM London partners with ITIC Virtual Summit

WTM London partners with ITIC Virtual Summit

WTM London partners with ITIC Virtual Summit
 

A virtual conference called “The Future Of Travel & Tourism – Financial Strategies for Recovery” takes place on Wednesday June 10th from 9:15am to 2:15pm (BST).

Organised by the International Tourism and Investment Conference (ITIC) in partnership with WTM London, the virtual summit considers how this vital economic sector will emerge from COVID-19 and what is needed to ensure growth.

Travel, tourism and hospitality are at the centre of an unprecedented business collapse as the COVID-19 pandemic changed the world forever in 2020.

Businesses that depend on tourism and travel are desperate to reopen and begin to operate under the “new normal”.

Under the chairmanship of Dr Taleb Rifai, former Secretary General of UNWTO, the virtual summit will feature prominent and inspirational speakers.

It will bring together experts from the health sector, tourism ministers, policy-makers and leaders from the travel and tourism sector – connecting them with investors, investment bankers and private equity firms to discuss financial solutions and preparedness to reopen the tourism industry for a better future.

WTM London’s Senior Exhibition Director, Simon Press, says:

“WTM London is honoured to partner with ITIC and is committed to support the travel industry as it adapts to the unique challenges of COVID and prepares for recovery – providing platforms for the global travel and tourism industry to share insights.

“Annually, WTM London connects travel industry professionals from 182 countries, offering unrivalled commercial opportunities and business insights and ITIC Virtual Summit will carry on our conversation on how to reopen the tourism industry.

“In 2019, our show contributed to a total of £3.75 billion worth of travel industry business deals being signed. This year, the recovery of the travel industry starts at WTM London.

“Our conversation on June 10 will gather great minds discussing the trends that will determine the future of the tourism industry.”

ITIC Virtual Summit focuses on three themes:

  • Health: dealing with Covid-19, and how we restore travellers’ confidence and rebuild business.
  • Investment: understanding the financial mechanisms that allow you to survive and rebuild.
  • Future: This may not be the last crisis, how can you prepare for any future global catastrophe

The current status of tourism will be discussed, unravelling how the responses of governments and the tourism industry in different countries have been effective and analysing the intricacies of the financial support plans already introduced.

Leading health experts have been invited to participate in the panel discussions to shed new light about the latest vaccine research that could accelerate the recovery of the travel and tourism industry by restoring business confidence.

The thought-provoking themes on the agenda are geared towards the future paradigm shift. Enriching panel discussions will debate how destinations can secure sustainable investment and how businesses should reposition for recovery when the pandemic comes under control.

Former Secretary General of UNWTO, Dr. Taleb Rifai says:

“We live today in unusual and difficult times. Who would have imagined just three months ago that we would only be able to hold an event like this online?

“We are living in a world where uncertainty has prompted so much fear and panic that no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

“As the pandemic threat became clear, governments intervened aggressively – though to varying degrees. Initially the focus was on containment and healthcare for the infected.

“But as the long-term threat became clear, the focus moved to life after containment which, without a cure, is also a vital part of living.

“As we emerge from this initial phase we must aim for life with dignity, prosperity and hope. So, there is a great need to support economic recovery as a matter of urgency and also to implement measures that restore confidence and trust in the hearts and minds of people.

“This conference is, therefore, very timely and ITIC and WTM London have joined hands to bring this Virtual Summit to you. We must start planning for tomorrow and we must introduce ways and means of bringing back a sense of normality to the world in which we live.

“This is an important summit not just because of the subject matters but more significantly, its timing.

“I am sure we are all going to come out of this summit a little more confident about the direction in which we are headed.”

Join us and register – EVENTBRITE.

For more information contact info@itic.uk or visit our conference website https://itic.uk/investment-summit-home/.

Final list of speakers revealed for the future of travel & tourism Middle East conference

Industry News 29th May, 2020

This week HE Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce, has confirmed his attendance at a conference considering the future of travel and tourism in the Middle East.

The event – part of Arabian Travel Market’s three-days of webinars and conferences – will discuss sustainable investment measures for the region’s travel & tourism sector alongside strategies to restore travellers’ confidence and move forward post-pandemic.

He will talk about his vision for Dubai’s success alongside leaders from across the region:

Panel Discussion: Initiatives to revive the travel and tourism industry and secure sustainable investment in the region?

Moderator: Rajan Datar, Presenter and Broadcaster BBC

Speakers

  • HE Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman Sharjah Investment and Development Authority
  • His Excellency Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
  • HE Saleh Al Gezeiry, Director General for Ajman Tourism
  • Mr. Majed M. Alghanim Tourism & Quality of Life Managing Director, Ministry of Investment, Saudi Arabia 
  • Mr. Nicolas Mayer, PWC Industry Leader Hospitality and Tourism EMEA & Managing Partner Global Center of Excellence Tourism & Hospitality

This is one of three sessions on the day and you can be part of the event with free registration.

Restructuring to Attract Sustainable Investment and Customers in the New World Order.

Register HERE

READ MORE ABOUT OUR CONFERENCE HERE

READ MORE ABOUT Arabian Travel Market’s Virtual Programme 1 – 3 June , 2020 HERE

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Why Germans are optimistic about foreign holidays this year

Industry News: 27th May 2020

Germany is planning to lift a travel warning for its 26 fellow EU countries plus Britain, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein from June 15 providing infection rates remain under control, according to a government source in Berlin speaking to Reuters 

Under the new proposal, the general travel warning that has been in place since March 17 would be replaced by individual advice tailored to the spread of the pandemic in each country, potentially allowing Germans to holiday abroad this summer.

In another positive move, people living in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Germany can now visit partners in Denmark by signing a simple declaration rather than having to provide photos, phone records and other proof of a relationship, the Danish justice minister, Nick Hækkerup, said.

The premiers of Germany’s 16 states are due to discuss with the chancellor, Angela Merkel, on Wednesday how to further relax restrictions aimed at containing Covid-19 after its initial relaxation, two weeks ago, showed no significant impact on infections.

More German federal states have announced unilateral steps to loosen restrictions, creating a patchwork of wildly varying rules on physical distancing within Germany and moving control away from Chancellor Merkel.

Winfried Kretschmann, the premier of Baden-Württemberg, said on Tuesday his state would allow seated public events with up to 100 people from 1 June. Other states
made similar announcements, with the mayor of Hamburg saying the the city state would soon reopen cinemas, open-air swimming pools and gyms.

According to The Guardian in the UK, there was no official confirmation of a report, citing a draft document, in the Bild tabloid that Merkel, under pressure from state premiers, had already agreed to ease some remaining rules – including on the numbers of visitors allowed in people’s homes – by June 29 instead of July 5, as originally planned.

 
 

 

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Saudi Arabia begins releasing lockdown with end in four weeks

Industry News: 26th May 2020

Saudi Arabia will begin easing its coronavirus curfew from Thursday, it has been announced.

Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah said the easing of restrictions will be undertaken in phases and will depend on how the spread of the virus pans out this week. 

The first phase will begin with expanding capacity to serve “critical patients” and the second will include intensifying Covid-19 tests and early detection.

Speaking a a press conference on Monday, the health minister said the Saudi people had displayed a “high amount of responsibility in practising social distancing.” 

“After five months since this pandemic started, where the global health systems faced great difficulties in dealing with it, our society has become today more aware of this virus and implementing the measures of the social distancing, as it is a new experience for all of us,” he said in remarks quoted by the Saudi Press Agency

Restrictions in place due to coronavirus, including bans on domestic travel, holding prayers in mosques, and workplace attendance in both government and private sector will be lifted, starting May 31, the statement added.

The Kingdom will reopen all mosques outside Mecca from May 31 until June 20 in one of a number of measures announced by the SPA.

From June 21, the Kingdom expects to lift the lockdown entirely and return to normal life, according to SPA.

Al Rabiah said that people should continue taking precautionary measures while leaving their homes by using face masks and hand gloves.

The Health Ministry recorded nine new deaths and 2,235 new cases of coronavirus in the Kingdom on Monday.

The new deaths have increased the Covid-19-related toll in Saudi Arabia to 399 and the total number of confirmed cases to 74,795. 

The number of recoveries has risen to 2,148, taking the total number of recovered cases to 45,668.

The Covid-19 pandemic has severely damaged the Kingdom’s plan to boost its tourism income and create new jobs. In October 2019, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia revealed its 2030 plan aiming for 10 per cent of GDP to come from tourism within 10 years, up from 3 per cent, building on its enormous annual religious pilgrimage visitors. The Kingdom also set a target of international and domestic visits of 100 million a year by 2030, attracting significant foreign and domestic investment and creating a million jobs.

 
 

 

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Dubai tourism leaders meet key stakeholders to plan for the future

Industry News: 26th May 2020

ABU DHABI, 25th May 2020 (WAM): Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) held a virtual meeting with key aviation and hospitality partners to discuss current and post-pandemic strategies and joint initiatives aimed at ensuring the tourism industry’s gradual return to normalcy.

The meeting also discussed global efforts to minimise the transmission of COVID-19 and precautionary measures deployed to safeguard the health of communities across the UAE.

On the same day the UAE Government announced that the number of COVID-19 tests has broken the two million mark, reaching 2,044,493 screenings as part of the national plan to intensify coronavirus detection. Three deaths on Sunday due to COVID-19 complications, took the total number of deaths to 248, and 601 individuals have fully recovered from the virus, bringing the total number of recoveries to 15,657. There are 14,402 patients from different nationalities are currently receiving the necessary treatment.

Attendees the meeting hosted by the Director General of Dubai Tourism, included key executives of hospitality groups including Jumeirah, Emaar Hospitality Group, Marriott International, Millennium, Accor, JA Resorts and Hotels, Kerzner International, Al Habtoor Group, Wasl and Rotana, in addition to aviation sector players like Emirates, Flydubai and Dubai International Airport.

The report released by state newsagency WAM said partners were briefed on the phased approach being adopted to reopen the tourism sector in Dubai, and the marketing communications and activities in progress across key markets to reinforce Dubai’s high global profile including the ongoing #TillWeMeetAgain digital activation.

With the hospitality sector being a key pillar of Dubai’s economy, the discussions between Dubai Tourism and partners focused on the steps being taken to pave the way for the reopening of hotels and other tourism facilities across the city, while ensuring adherence to the strictest guidelines and providing opportunities to revive domestic market demand.

As part of overall efforts to create a positive perception and a conducive environment aimed at instilling confidence among travellers who plan to visit Dubai, the meeting also looked at precautionary measures that have been implemented, both at a citywide level and across specific sectors including tourism, which represent critical touchpoints for visitors and residents during their stay.

One of the key priorities from a marketing perspective, the meeting heard, is to emphasise the safety and security that Dubai provides, and the clear stringent health and safety protocols issued by the Dubai Health Authority based on international standards and best practices aimed at containing the contagion. The meeting also discussed the mechanism to ensure adherence to the guidelines, practical solutions to scan and monitor passengers at Dubai International Airport and the effective management of contact tracing in compliance with privacy standards, following the resumption of air travel.

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All participants at the meeting expressed their appreciation for the way in which government – both at the Dubai and UAE level – have dealt with the threat of COVID-19 including the rational policy decisions that have allowed robust management of the health crisis and mitigation of the economic repercussions by allowing for the gradual reopening of vital sectors like tourism.

Industry executives at the meeting also agreed that the postponement of Expo 2020 was prudent and well-received. It provides the opportunity to hold the event in a more normalised global environment where all countries can actively participate, making it a more representative Expo for the world in 2021. The businesses also reiterated their support to Dubai Tourism to kick-start the sector with collaborative development of promotional programmes and strong customised packages that take into account the current realities of the global market. The stakeholders were unanimous that there was positive sentiment surrounding Dubai as a key destination in the international circuit thanks to the city’s world class health infrastructure, and protocols and processes deployed during the management of this pandemic.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Tourism, said: “It must be emphasised that the health and safety of our residents and guests will always remain our top priority as we continue to work with the industry and our government partners not just during this critical period but beyond, to develop innovative approaches, real-time responses, and proactive yet prudent initiatives to ensure that Dubai remains at the forefront of the world’s leading destinations in line with our strategy.

“As we look ahead to a gradual reopening of tourism, we will focus on the key elements that have ensured the industry’s success over the past decade – creating unique value and delivering an uncompromised guest experience. To achieve this, we rely on the solidarity of our stakeholders who have always played a pivotal role. We hope they will continue to lead from the front in positioning Dubai as a must-visit destination.”

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said: “Dubai International Airport is prepared to welcome visitors as soon as airports around the word start reopening and pave the way for a phased resumption of air services. As health and hygiene standards will play an influential role in encouraging people to travel, we have put in place a set of health and safety protocols at our airports including all necessary quarantine arrangements and the implementation of sanitisation and disinfection measures to reassure tourists that Dubai is one of the safest destinations to visit. We will also continue to receive incoming flights from select destinations, operate cargo flights, as well as flights to repatriate expatriates and guests to their home destinations.”

Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer at Emirates Airline, said: “The health and safety of our customers and employees remain our top priorities across our operations, and Emirates has implemented comprehensive measures at every step of the customer journey. This includes thermal temperature scanning before check-in, the mandatory use of masks and gloves for everyone at the airport, protective suits for our crew and ground employees, physical distancing protocols, modified services to reduce contact, enhanced cleaning of all our touch points, and much more.”

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO of flydubai, said: “Since the flight restrictions came into effect, we have operated more than 100 repatriation flights to 19 different countries enabling 14,000 citizens to return home. flydubai will continue to work closely with its strategic partners to ensure that all safety measures are in place in line with international standards when flight restrictions are lifted.”

Mohammed Al Habtoor, Vice Chairman and CEO, Al Habtoor Group, said: “Dubai with its wide experience in successfully dealing with challenging situations is capable of restoring tourism momentum and paving the way for the hospitality sector to returns to its previous state. This is also a view shared by our international hospitality partners who have placed great faith in Dubai’s resilience during tough times, as well as in its world-class healthcare system and the range of preventive measures taken across the city such as the effective and regular sanitisation and sterilisation programmes, that will help highlight Dubai as one of the world’s safest destinations.”

Mark Willis, CEO Middle East and Africa at Accor, praised the government’s efforts in reopening the markets and supporting the tourism sector: “Accor is committed to coordinating with Dubai Tourism and all related entities, from both government and private sectors, to ensure we are aligned in making the safety and well-being of our guests and team members our key priority”

Neal Jones, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Marriott International, said: “As an international chain that enjoys a longstanding relationship with Dubai, Marriott is committed to supporting the industry’s efforts to regain momentum by rolling out our own initiatives and packages to attract visitors to Dubai when the time is safe for travel.”

 

 

‘Ski resorts were Covid-19 breeding ground in Europe’

Industry News: 23rd May 2020

Dr Andrea Ammon blames the return of skiers and snowboarders from Alpine skiing breaks in the first week of March was a pivotal moment in the spread of Covid-19 into Europe.

And in her interview with The Guardian newspaper in the UK last week she warned that Europe should brace for a serious second wave.

“The question is when and how big, that is the question in my view,” said Dr Ammon (pictured above), director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), a former advisor to the German government..

In her Guardian interview she said: “Looking at the characteristics of the virus, looking at what now emerges from the different countries in terms of population immunity – which isn’t all that exciting, between 2 per cent and 14 per cent, that leaves still 85 per cent to 90 per cent of the population susceptible – the virus is around us, circulating much more than January and February.

“I don’t want to draw a doomsday picture but I think we have to be realistic. That it’s not the time now to completely relax.”

And she was believes that Alpine resorts were the breeding ground and first point of arrival for much of the pandemic in Europe in Janury.

“Because at that time we saw new cases all over Europe and actually they had been in the skiing places in the Alps, in Italy, Austria,” she said.

“I mean this is a crowded place, the ski resorts, and then you have these cabins that you go up the mountain and these are really crammed.

“Yeah, it’s just perfect for such a virus. I mean I am pretty sure that this contributed to the wide spread in Europe.”

The case of the ski resort of Ischgl in Austria has a reputation as a virus-spreader. The village had the highest concentrations of covid-19 in the whole of Austria.

It remained in full lockdown and along with the other Austrian resorts of St Anton and Soelden long after other areas saw their restrictions lifted.

It is interesting to see this has now been confirmed by the medical experts, but it was obvious for anyone to see with a modicum of knowledge and common sense.

Perhaps the more worrying aspect at this moment in time is that Andrea Ammon believes a second wave is coming.

She advises that the prospect of a second wave of coronavirus infection across Europe is no longer a distant theory.

“The question is when and how big, that is the question in my view,” said Dr Andrea Ammon.

READ FULL GUARDIAN INTERVIEW HERE

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Hard hit Dubai hotels prepare for September recovery

Industry News: 21st May 2020

About 30 per cent of jobs in Dubai’s hotel industry are likely to be lost over the summer until demand recovers from the pandemic, according to research firm STR.

In an updated Bloomberg report today (May 21, 2020) the news outlet said more than a third of the city’s 120,000 hotel rooms will ‘probably remain closed through the typically slow summer months’.

Bloomberg spoke with Philip Wooller, Middle East and Africa director at STR Global. The industry employs about 40,000 people, he estimated.

The job-loss estimate is a “minimum,” Wooller said. “Otherwise you’re asking the owners to reach into their own pockets and, while some might do that, others won’t be able to afford it.”

Almost 17 million tourists visited the city last year, contributing about 12 per cent to economic output.

Hotel occupancy slumped to 23 per cent since the pandemic hit from about 80 per cent one of the highest in the world, according to STR. Average occupancy globally is around 20 per cent and has been mostly held up by demand for accommodation for medical staff and quarantines.

“Dubai’s Hospitality businesses are resuming operations based on issued government reopening guidelines during this pandemic,” the emirate’s media office said in a tweet. “Dubai’s hotel sector is healthy and this prudent approach prepares the industry for an even stronger resurgence post Covid.”

Occupancy is expected to recover to between 50 and 60 per cent by September as demand improves and hotels reopen, Wooller said. Some operators, especially beach hotels, may see demand from residents unable to travel abroad seeking local vacations instead.

Bloomberg reported that closures have hit most hotels in the rest of the Gulf, with nearly 43 per cent of rooms in the Omani capital being shuttered. In Mecca, more than 80 per cent of rooms were closed as the city that hosts Islam’s holiest site, which had the worst outbreak in Saudi Arabia.

Some hotel owners in Qatar are benefiting from the government leasing nearly 30 properties. Qatar, which is set to host the soccer World Cup in 2022, is still benefiting from demand as infrastructure preparation continues. In Dubai’s Emirati neighbour, Abu Dhabi says just 17 per cent of the city’s 29,000 rooms closed. Occupancy is hovering around 50 per cent as the government leases rooms for essential staff and for quarantines, according to STR Global.

READ FULL UPDATED BLOOMBERG NEWS REPORT HERE

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Why Brits plan to spend up to £3.8bn on hospitality in first week after lockdown ends

Industry News: 21st May 2020

In the UK the public’s wish to dine out or get a way for a family break is worth £3.8billion (US$4.6bn) to the economy…within just one week of lockdown ending.

New research from Caterer.com this week survey more than 2,000 Brits and revealed 63 per cent want to support local hospitalty businesses as soon as possible, as long as sfety measures are in place.

And it revealed that almost half the people across the country have a new found apprecaition and recognition of the hospitality sector and more than half were eager for it to ‘get back to normal’.

Almost a third (31 per cent) say they will go to the pub within a week of being allowed and in London it was more than half (51 per cent) and 30 per cent will be dining out within the first week.

The insights from Caterer.com show that 62 per cent of Brits would feel comfortable eating in restaurants that occupied every other table only and 55 per cent agreed that maximum group size on a table should be four.

But it was another blow for buffet-style dining with seven in 10 of those surveyed said that was not an option until a vaccine is discovered.

Caterer.com concluded the results support the call from the sector for additional support from the Government, in order to make operation financially viable with 67 per cent supporting Government cash to ensure survival. Even though this money would have to come from central funds, the survey found around 40 per cent say they would pay more in return for better cleaning and social distacing measures.

The survey included suggestions from customers to help make them feel comfortable going out:

  • 54% think hand sanitiser should be provided for all customers and staff
  • 47% would like all staff to be trained on a new cleaning protocol
  • 36% think Social Distancing Managers should be implemented
  • 22% think that all staff should wear PPE
  • 18% think they should be able to order their meals digitally

Neil Pattison, director at Caterer.com, said: “While this has been an incredibly painful time for the sector, it’s encouraging to see the public have a huge appreciation for what the hospitality sector provides to communities. There is strong appetite to support these businesses and workers in getting back on their feet.

“While measures like having more hand sanitiser available and training staff to introduce new cleaning regimes may be more simply implemented, social distancing measures will mean far fewer customers can be served at one time.

“As a result, there is deep concern about how hospitality businesses will survive economically in the short and long term.

“We are grateful for the Government’s support to date, however, there is still much more work to be done and it’s vital that this continues.”

 

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