Each month, we shine our Spotlight on Hoteliers to understand how 2020 has impacted industry and what’s on the horizon for the future. In this month’s Hotelier Spotlight Interview, we catch up with Kyp Charalambous, Vice President of Sales at Atlantis, The Palm in Dubai.
At the start of the pandemic, the message was very much, “We’re ready when you are”, evolving to “Come and live your story in Dubai” today.
What is the current status of your hotel today, as well as the wider industry in your region?
From flights to hotels and resorts, one of the benefits about Dubai as a destination is that the status is currently open. This morning I attended a Visit Dubai Tourism conference, and it’s been very interesting to see how the industry’s tourism strategies to promote our destination have evolved through various stages this year. At the start of the pandemic, the message was very much, “We’re ready when you are”, evolving to “Come and live your story in Dubai” today. It’s very positive to see this evolution of the message to market, and how it may continue to evolve over time.
Since Dubai reopened to international travel in July 2020, flight capacity has also been a major contributor to the recovery of tourism and the hotel industry. Emirates is currently flying in visitors from over 160 destinations in over 80 countries globally. It’s important to remember just how much of a global hub Dubai is, with just 8-hour flight access from many countries. All of this has contributed significantly to international tourism and hotels during this time. We see this upturn continuing, which will in turn continue to have a positive impact on the industry. The reality, however, remains to be seen, but we remain optimistic.
Over the past 6 months, we’ve seen a drastic reduction in booking pace and a major increase in domestic travel across Europe and the US. Would you say this is the case in the UAE?
Although international travel has been open since July, we have continued to rely strongly on the local market. Domestic travellers continue to engage with local resorts and hotels during this time. Over the national holidays, we continue to see huge spikes in occupancy from local visitors, similar to the demand we saw over the summer. Looking ahead, we’re likely to see peaks and troughs in the short-term demand, and not just from local tourists but international markets as well. All it takes is a new headline announcing that a restriction has been lifted or a certain airline is flying to a destination, and instantly we see a pick up in demand, particularly in an iconic resort like Atlantis, The Palm.
In addition to short-term demand, we’re also generating bookings for September and November 2021. This could be due to numerous reasons, but it indicates that consumers are booking something special to look forward to in the long-term as well.