Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic

Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic
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Although the global travel and tourism industry is still reeling from the negative effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, adventure travel in particular is holding up. (Screenshot)
Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic
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In general, travel interest dropped nearly 40 percent globally, but all regions — apart from the UAE — have witnessed a gradual recovery since July and August. (Screenshot)
Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic
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Hotel occupancy also remains lower by 34 percent globally, but only 20 percent in China, compared with the same time frame in 2019. (Screenshot)
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Updated 27 October 2020

Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic

Future Hospitality Summit: Adventure travel weathers coronavirus pandemic
  • Hospitality industry leaders and experts were discussing COVID-19 impact at virtual event hosted by Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Although the global travel and tourism industry is still reeling from the negative effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, adventure travel in particular is holding up.

“Adventure travel, which has been a booming industry, remains one of the resilient categories,” Alex Dichter, a partner at McKinsey and Company, said during the virtual Future Hospitality Summit on Monday.

Dichter explained the correlation by saying that adventure travel involved trips like “bucket list” experiences, and “COVID-19 has reminded people around the world that life is short.”

The management consulting expert likewise identified other global travel trends during the event hosted by Riyadh to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20.

For instance, international destinations closer to people’s home countries are increasing in popularity, akin to domestic travel, as COVID19-related movement restrictions beyond national borders remain in place.

 

 

In general, travel interest dropped nearly 40 percent globally, but all regions — apart from the UAE — have witnessed a gradual recovery since July and August. The summer months are considered off-season for the Gulf country, and the trend has not changed this year, Dichter said.

Despite decline and recovery levels remaining mostly uniform across Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, volatility nonetheless remains high when measured at a country level, he said.

Hotel occupancy also remains lower by 34 percent globally, but only 20 percent in China, compared with the same time frame in 2019.

Several speakers, meanwhile, said that global travel was severely affected by movement restrictions and some COVID-19 measures, such as mandatory quarantines.

 

 

“When there are quarantine measures in the destination or the home country, the percentage of bookings drops by 100,” said Alexander de Juniac, the CEO and director general of the International Air Travel Association.

De Juniac suggested the implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing as a safe alternative to mandatory quarantine periods in order to stimulate travel activity.

Gloria Manzo, the CEO and president of the World Travel and Tourism Council, meanwhile, suggested that countries needed to decide who to quarantine based on individual COVID-19 test results rather than imposing broader rules based on nationality, or color-coding countries according to safety levels.

As for the global recovery of the tourism and travel industry, Manzo said it would depend on the levels of international cooperation.

 

 

“We can have an 18 month recovery or a 3 year recovery period, depending on the coordination of stakeholders,” she added.

Meanwhile, officials from Saudi Arabia discussed the Kingdom’s efforts to boost the tourism industry.

Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb said the country was working to develop the Red Sea coastline to attract more people.

“Last year we had more than 10,000 visitors discover historical sites,” Al-Khateeb said during the summit.

Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of Ad Diriyah Gate Development Authority, added that the Kingdom had spent 25 years restoring the UNESCO World Heritage site to support the contry’s tourism industry.

“We are taking tourism from 3 percent of GDP to 10 percent of GDP,” he said.

Organized by Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia and G20 Saudi Secretariat as part of The International Conferences Program, honoring the G20 Saudi presidency year 2020.


first phase Saudi Arabia's “Pulse of Alkhobar” project launched

first phase Saudi Arabia's “Pulse of Alkhobar” project launched
Updated 22 January 2021

first phase Saudi Arabia's “Pulse of Alkhobar” project launched

first phase Saudi Arabia's “Pulse of Alkhobar” project launched

RIYADH: The first phase of the “Pulse of Alkhobar” project has been launched as part of plans to develop an integrated cultural center in the heart of the city and transform the Eastern Province’s arts scene.
The project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.
According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.
Acting Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs Majid Al-Hogail said that the project will build an artistic and heritage destination that will improve the lives of residents of Alkhobar governorate as well as visitors to the Eastern Province.
The project will help define the region’s culture and enhance its position as a tourist destination, he added.
Abdulhadi Al-Shammari, the province’s municipal chairman, told Arab News that the new project will also improve services at municipal facilities, while preserving Saudi heritage and culture.
The project introduces tourists and visitors to the culture of the province, and highlights Al-Olaya district as the center of the city’s culture and arts activities.
Al-Shammari said that the project will boost the city’s finances, driving sustainable development and growth as well an improvement in quality of life.
“It will create new investment opportunities for the private sector, and encourage small and medium-scale enterprises, which have an excellent and effective social impact,” he said.
Al-Shammari added: “The Saudi government supports all sectors to help them deliver lucrative investment opportunities and build a conducive environment for local and foreign investment, where new job opportunities are created for young men and women.”
Faisal Al-Fadl, secretary-general of the Saudi Green Building Forum, told Arab News that creating a cultural and arts destination that is open to a range of activities will add to the city’s tourist appeal.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The ‘Pulse of Alkhobar’ project follows calls by architecture experts, social media activists and artists for a collaboration across multiple sectors to strengthen the province’s cultural impact.

• According to Culture Minister Prince Badr bin Abudllah bin Farhan, the project, centered on the site of the city’s old market, is the fruit of a partnership between the ministry and its municipal and rural affairs counterpart.

“Cooperation between the public sector and international organizations, as well as professional organizations, archaeologists and the public, is instrumental in preserving the cultural and architectural heritage of neighborhoods and cities,” he said.
Al-Fadl added that the collaboration between the two ministries reflects “the importance of architectural and cultural heritage, and the tangible and unique archaeological importance of the buildings as a key element in the history of peoples and relationships inside and outside the Arabian Peninsula.”
He thanked both ministries for their efforts.
Arafat Al-Majed, a Qatif Muncipal Council member, said the partnership is a step forward that falls in line with agreements concluded as part of Vision 2030.
“The agreement will increase interest in cultural heritage and the buildings and towns whose profound and ancient history should be brought out to the world to see and enjoy,” she told Arab News. “The agreement will also improve the urban landscape.”
She said that the joint committee should have branches in municipalities around the Kingdom in order to shed light on heritage sites that can be included in UNESCO. “The Kingdom is rich in such heritage sites.”
Al-Majed said that the project will introduce today’s generation to the ancient heritage of the province in a way that encourages investment opportunities.
“Nobody can deny the fact that some municipalities are still hesitant about what to do with heritage buildings and towns since some of these are abandoned or about to collapse. These municipalities want to tear them down. But these are historical treasures that should be preserved and invested in to become an important economic driver, and a source of arts and culture,” she added.
Maysoon Abu Baker, a Saudi poet and columnist, said the Saudi government attaches great importance to culture and heritage.
“Vision 2030 emphasized the significance of the culture existent in old cities,” she told Arab News.
“Arts, culture and heritage are at the top of the agenda for developing cities and preserving their culture. The cultural impact is important for the future of the Kingdom and is related to its history.”
Yousef Al-Harbi, director of Culture and Arts Society in Dammam, said that the partnership will lead to “new visual perceptions highlighting the Saudi, Arabian and Islamic identity.”
He highlighted the importance of nurturing Saudi art and architectural talent, and facilitating cooperation in order to “bring out the beauty of Saudi heritage and cities.”