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.


Two more COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Saudi Arabia

Two more COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Saudi Arabia
Saudi health clinics are being set up around the country by the Ministry of Health to treat coronavirus patients. (SPA)
Updated 19 January 2021

Two more COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Saudi Arabia

Two more COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Saudi Arabia
  • AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines can now be used in addition to the previously approved Pfizer/BioNTech shot

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Health has approved two additional COVID-19 vaccines, developed by AstraZeneca and Moderna, for use in the Kingdom. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is already being used to immunize people in the country.

Ibrahim Al-Oraifi, director general of health affairs in the Eastern Province, told Al Arabiya news channel that there is global competition for available supplies of vaccines, and that the demand for the Pfizer vaccine is “great.” However he added that Saudi authorities have secured good quantities and vaccination efforts are being stepped up.
“There is an increase in the number of workers in vaccine centers in the Kingdom as they gain good experience, where the workflow became faster and larger with the expansion of the reception halls for the vaccine recipients,” he added.
A vaccination center in Al-Ahsa is ready to open, Al-Oraifi said, and just waiting for the delivery of vaccines. “We will start within a week or two,” he added. “Meanwhile work is underway to equip the Hafar Al-Batin center, which is expected to start operating next month.”
He said that about 400,000 people in the Eastern Province have registered through the ministry’s Sehhaty health services app to receive vaccinations, and about 60,000 people have already been inoculated. Nationwide, more than 2 million people registered for the vaccine in the first month after the registration process was launched.

FASTFACTS

365,099 Total cases

356,848 Recoveries

According to statistics for the past month, the Ministry of Health is currently receiving 100,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine a week. It aims to reach at least 80 percent immunity among the population through vaccination.
Saudi authorities on Monday recorded six additional deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the country to 6,329. A further 170 cases of infection have been confirmed, meaning 365,099 people in the Kingdom have contracted the disease. Of these, 1,922 remain active and 317 patients are in critical condition.
The ministry said 67 of the new cases are in Riyadh, 38 in Makkah, 25 in the Eastern Province and 22 in Madinah. Another 161 patients have recovered from the disease, bringing the number of recoveries to 356,848. The total number of PCR tests carried out in the country now stands at 11,713,996, including 45,064 in the previous 24 hours.