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- Middle East hotels ready to capitalise on workation trend, says ATM
Hotels throughout the Middle East region are preparing to capitalise on the pent-up global demand for workations, driven in the main by the social restrictions imposed by governments across the world over the past ten months. According to research conducted as well as commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), many travel experts are expecting a surge in workations in 2021 and beyond, a trend that was apparent in 2019, but one which now has such pent-up demand due to the coronavirus travel restrictions. Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, which will take place live at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) 16-19 May 2021, said: “The hotel industry in the Middle East has gradually started to recover, especially in places such as Dubai. Staycations created the initial demand after lockdown, the next step has been the continued growth of workations, which are also referred to as bleisure stays, which tend to bring in more visitors from overseas.” Fueling this growth are companies like Facebook, Twitter and Spotify which have announced that employees can work from home indefinitely, leading many experts to predict that these digital professionals are likely to work remotely, whilst still connecting safely and securely with their physical offices. “Longer term, the ‘on the go’ executive will be a far more common sight in hotels, whether it’s Gen Z singletons, millennial professionals, or freelancers who can earn a living from a laptop,” added Curtis. With over 50% of the world’s working population doing so from home and the rise of entrepreneurial digital nomads who prefer to work remotely, the popularity of workations will only increase. This will alleviate the boredom of living and working from home, even after the pandemic has finally been eradicated and obviously in the short term, it will provide much needed revenue to not only hotels but the travel trade in general, not to mention government coffers. “And on that point, as an example, Dubai has introduced a remote visa programme that would entitle visitors to stay for up to 12 months, with access to co-working spaces and government support services,” said Curtis. To accommodate the needs of the ‘new normal’ smart working traveller even further, an increasing number of hotels in the MENA region are offering pop-up co-working spaces with the aim of rethinking and making the most of the hotel space, which is no longer considered just as a place to stay, instead, it becomes a potential work environment. “Covid-19 has completely disrupted the traditional office culture and the hospitality sector has been quick to offer alternative solutions for those looking to combine working from home with leisure time. The introduction of the workation concept is not just a novel idea, it’s about making adjustments to meet the new market demands, allowing those who are not currently working from their office to enjoy a luxury hospitality experience whilst continuing their work commitments,” said Mark Kirby, COO of Emaar Hospitality. Further afield in the Maldives for example, hotels are offering the ultimate ‘workation packages’ where guests can work from a secluded beach house, with personal desks and high-speed WiFi. Some hotels in India have created indoor and outdoor common areas that function as work-friendly spaces, many others have opted for dedicated spaces poolside where remote workers get a table, chair and parasol, WiFi and power socket, as well as the ubiquitous sun lounger. “Depending on the effectiveness of the vaccines being rolled out, as well as travel and other social restrictions, this demand could broaden to include families. If children are being home-schooled it would make little difference if they were at home or on a workation with their parents. Indeed, time away from long cold winter nights in northern Europe, would undoubtedly improve a family’s state of mind,” added Curtis. Now in its 28th year and working in collaboration with DWTC and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), the theme of the show next year will be ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’ and the spotlight will be thrown onto the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds. It will also look at the emerging trends and how innovation can drive the industry forward. ATM 2021 will also play an integral role in Arabian Travel Week and for the first time, a new hybrid format will be in place. This means an additional virtual ATM will be organised to run the following week, which will complement the live event by accommodating visitors who may be unable to travel to Dubai. The inaugural ATM Virtual 2020, attracted 12,000 online attendees from 140 countries, over three days.
- Kamala Harris is not going to be 24x7friend of India: Meghnad Desai
15 January 2021, Kolkata: Commenting on India-US relations under US President Joe Biden, British economist and politician, Lord Meghnad Desai, said, “I don’t think Kamala Harris is going to be absolutely 24X7 friend of India. She has her own views on many things. India and USA will probably have differences as Biden is on the soft left of American politics as Donald Trump is on the populist right of American politics. Therefore, there may be differences between Narendra Modi and Joe Biden on questions of human rights, Kashmir and so on. There already have been differences even when Trump was President with the Congressional Democratic members in America.” Lord Meghnad Desai was addressing an online session of Kitaab series organised by Prabha Khaitan Foundation of Kolkata and presented by Shree Cement where his latest book “Rebellious Lord: An Autobiography” was formally launched by guest conversationalist Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Indian economist and former civil servant. The Kitaab session was formally initiated by Ms Priyanshi Patel of Ehsaas Woman of Ahmedabad and was joined in by guests from all over the world. On India-China relations Desai said, “There is no solution to the India-China issue. It is a clash of two very deep nationalisms; two old cultures. How we are going to reconcile is very difficult.” Lord Meghnad Jagdishchandra Desai, is a British politician, life peer, author, economist, commentator, columnist and a film buff who has written over 30 books on economics, politics, history, cinema and fiction. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 2008 by the Indian Government. He resigned from the Labour Party in November last year after 49-years citing anti-semitism. Talking of Indian films Desai said, “Bollywood and Indian films have an uncanny ability to tell India’s story to the world since Raj Kapoor’s times, even as it changes. I am a great fan of Bollywood, including southern films, which is a very good storyteller with content and entertainment,” Desai said. Regarding his analysis of the economic policies of the BJP in the mid 90s, Meghnad Desai said, “The BJP had a very muddled economic policy 25 years ago. Mentor, Deen Dayal Upadhyay had a kind of third-way idea, neither capitalism nor socialism. It was a khichadi. The Singh-Rao reforms were successful and instead of opposing those reforms, they swam with the tide. So their manifestos were totally irrelevant as to what they did.”
- Impact awakening: The rise of responsible travel
Mumbai, 12th January 2021: While COVID-19 may have halted our travel plans, it has also given some of the world’s most popular tourist destinations a much-needed moment of rest as travellers stayed indoors. This pause in globetrotting has inspired hopeful Indian travellers to become more aware of the wider impact of their trips, with 70% of Indian travellers wanting to travel more sustainably in the future, as per Booking.com’s Future of Travel research findings. The survey conducted by leading digital travel platform Booking.com also reveals that 78% of Indian travellers expect the travel industry to offer more sustainable travel options to meet their goals of sustainable travel in the future. Unfollowing the crowd Indian travellers planning to travel in 2021 have expressed a wish to avoid other tourists, with a spike in interest towards exploring lesser-known destinations this year. Based on our research, 76% of Indian travellers will stay away from crowded tourist attractions, indicating that destinations will need to adopt new, smart crowd management measures to appease travellers. The report further states that 54% of Indian travellers will visit alternative destinations in a bid to avoid travelling during peak season and 49% of Indian travellers will prefer alternative destinations to avoid overcrowding. Supporting local communities As the pandemic has amplified people’s awareness about their impact on the environment and local communities, travellers are now more aware of their impact than ever before, which will pave the way for more sustainable and regenerative travel in the future. 75% of Indian travellers indicated that they want their travel choices to also support the destination’s recovery efforts, and 73% of Indian travellers want to see how their spendings go back into supporting the local community. Recycle and upcycle The impact of Coronavirus has inspired 55% of Indian travellers to consider reducing waste and recycle their plastic when travelling once travel restrictions are lifted, showing that people are not just committed to protecting themselves, but also the places they visit. To make sustainable travel easier for everyone, Booking.com is encouraging accommodation providers to make more sustainable choices. As a signatory to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative (GTPI) led by World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Booking.com has committed to advocate for more sustainable practices and the elimination of the unnecessary use of single-use plastics in the travel and tourism industry. This includes promoting the GTPI’s recently published guide to Booking.com’s global network of accommodation providers, which offers practical advice to maintain high levels of safety and hygiene, without relying on single-use plastic products that further contribute to widespread pollution issues for communities and ecosystems around the world. Towards a sustainable future While travel has the power to broaden horizons, open up opportunities and connect people and cultures from around the world, every trip also has an impact on the environment and local communities. Booking.com wants to help lead the way in making sure that the impact of travel on people and places is both positive and long-lasting. In addition to developing resources with tips and information to help properties operate more sustainably overall, the company is testing features that enable properties to highlight their own eco-friendly efforts to potential customers on Booking.com. These first sustainable practices that have been identified (including efforts to eliminate single-use plastics, electricity-saving measures and initiatives to reduce water usage) can be easily implemented by accommodation partners and can also be verified by guests. Commenting on the Future of Travel study, Ritu Mehrotra, Country Manager, India, Sri Lanka and Maldives at Booking.com said, “At Booking.com, we believe travel has the power to transform lives for the better. As a leading digital travel platform, we believe sustainable travel will ensure future travellers can continue to encounter a world full of destinations sti ll worth exploring. For the past couple of years, we have worked alongside industry stakeholders to design and implement initiatives and products that support communities, reduce over-tourism, preserve culture and protect the environment. In doing so, we are fostering a long-term future where the whole industry works hand in hand to further transform the global travel experience into a powerful force for good.” METHODOLOGY / NOTES TO EDITORS *Research commissioned by Booking.com and conducted among a sampl e of adults who have traveled for business or leisure in the past 12 months, and must be planning to travel in the next 12 months (if/once travel restrictions are lifted). In total 20,934 respondents across 28 countries and territories were polled (including 999 from USA, 496 from Canada, 497 from Mexico, 997 from Colombia, 999 from Brazil, 499 from Argentina, 995 from Australia, 499 from New Zealand, 999 from Spain, 996 from Italy, 996 from France, 999 from UK, 996 from Germany, 498 from Netherlands, 499 from Denmark, 499 from Sweden, 498 from Croatia, 1001 from Russia, 498 from Israel, 997 from India, 994 from China, 499 from Hong Kong, 497 from Thailand, 496 from Singapore, 499 from Taiwan, 997 from South Korea, 500 from Vietnam and 995 from Japan). Resp ondents completed an online survey in July 2020.
- Industry News | Glarepost | India
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