Staycations and domestic travel to lead GCC tourism recovery from COVID-19 says new ATM report

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 1-3 June 2020.


The research from Colliers International, in partnership with ATM, revealed the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius increased from just 20% in January 2020 to 43% in March. While, in Dubai, the percentage rose from 19% to 36%.


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 48km radius accounted for 77% of all bookings in April and domestic travel from Dubai accounting for 91% of searches and bookings within the same radius.

With this in mind, ‘The Hotel Landscape in a Post-COVID-19 Worldsession taking place on


Monday 1st June from 1.30 pm – 2.30 pm GST (10.30 am – 11.30 am BST), will focus on the hospitality industry, exploring the profound impact of COVID-19 on the Middle East’s hotel sector as well as outlining what the landscape is likely to look like when travel resumes and what will be considered new ‘norms’ in terms of guest behaviours and expectations.


Confirmed session panellists will include Tim Cordon, Senior Area Vice President for Middle East & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group and Christopher Lund, Head of Hotels, Colliers International, Middle East & North Africa, and will be moderated by Gemma Greenwood.


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 2020. 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.


“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.