Luxury is a way of life for the Middle Eastern traveller. However, it exceeded its limits during the time of the pandemic taking a whole new outlook. TRAVTALK speaks to half-a-dozen leaders from the industry to know how the luxury travel industry has shaped up in the recent years and what do they think about the industry’s future.
Daniel Rosado Bayón, Director – Spain Tourism Office, Tourism Counsellor GCC
The luxury travel industry has experienced a huge transformation over the years. It has not only grown in size, as now we are seeing four generation of travellers seeking for premium experiences, but also we are watching a change in the trends of services and experiences. The sector is shifting as people are not any longer just looking for a room with a view, but rather an exclusive and personalised holiday.
Spencer Wadama, General Manager, SLS Hotel and Residences
I believe we are now at the stage where we are returning to normality and luxury travel today is becoming similar to the pre-covid era. I think the main difference is the awareness of hygiene amongst travellers. Guests are much more appreciative of, and are actively looking for, properties and brands that maintain high levels of hygiene standards. We also need to stay relevant to Generation Z.
Saleem Sharif, Deputy Managing Director, ATS Travel
How has luxury travel evolved in the post COVID era? ATS Travel has traditionally been a travel management company that catered to luxury travel for the past 45 years. This profile has helped us tap into this market segment further after the pandemic stuck. We have found the trend to book luxury travel has grown manifold. More and more people want bespoke, luxury hotels and private tours.
Ahmed Abdraboh, Cluster Director of Sales and Marketing, Fairmont Dubai/ Fairmont Ajman/ Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort
COVID-19 has caused a surge in consumer travel patterns in the luxury travel industry. This includes a surge in high-end private aviation services, remote business from other countries, and interest in private acquisitions of expansive villas or upscale hotels. Despite the popularity of luxury travel, an increasing number of wealthy customers are choosing ethical consumption over obvious shows of wealth.
George El Hawi, Sales Director, Grand Millennium Dubai Barsha Heights
Dubai’s hospitality industry is set to grow exponentially due to plenty of hotel openings. Innovative hospitality projects, theme parks, and medical tourism are a few of the catalysts that would support the hospitality industry to thrive in future, as will the influx of tourists from Expo 2020. The hospitality industry in Dubai is showing signs of quick recovery, and we expect pre-COVID numbers to return by 2023.
Deepak Rajawat, Chief Commercial Officer, Vistara
Travel, over the years, has come to mean a lot more than just going from one place to another and has become more about the overall experience. Travellers, today, are increasingly looking for enhanced comfort and joy while travelling, even if it comes at a marginal extra cost. We have also witnessed a preference for holidays that offer wellness elements and immersive experiences.
Inputs by Shehara Rizly