Hotels throughout the Middle East region are preparing to capitalise on the pent-up global demand for ‘workations’, driven in the main by the social restrictions imposed by governments across the world over the past ten months.
According to research conducted as well as commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), many travel experts are expecting a surge in workations in 2021 and beyond, a trend that was apparent in 2019, but one which now has such pent-up demand due to the coronavirus travel restrictions.
Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, which will take place live at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) May 16-19, 2021, says: “The hotel industry in the Middle East has gradually started to recover, especially in places such as Dubai. Staycations created the initial demand after lockdown, the next step has been the continued growth of workations, which are also referred to as bleisure stays, which tend to bring in more visitors from overseas.”
Fueling this growth are companies like Facebook, Twitter and Spotify which have announced that employees can work from home indefinitely, leading many experts to predict that these digital professionals are likely to work remotely, whilst still connecting safely and securely with their physical offices.
“Longer term, the ‘on the go’ executive will be a far more common sight in hotels, whether it’s Gen Z singletons, millennial professionals, or freelancers who can earn a living from a laptop,” adds Curtis.
With over 50% of the world’s working population doing so from home and the rise of entrepreneurial digital nomads who prefer to work remotely, the popularity of workations will only increase.
This will alleviate the boredom of living and working from home, even after the pandemic has finally been eradicated and obviously in the short term, it will provide much needed revenue to not only hotels but the travel trade in general, not to mention government coffers.
“And on that point, as an example, Dubai has introduced a remote visa programme that would entitle visitors to stay for up to 12 months, with access to co-working spaces and government support services,” says Curtis.
To accommodate the needs of the ‘new normal’ smart working traveller even further, an increasing number of hotels in the MENA region are offering pop-up co-working spaces with the aim of rethinking and making the most of the hotel space, which is no longer considered just as a place to stay, instead, it becomes a potential work environment.
Now in its 28th year and working in collaboration with DWTC and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce MarketingÂ (DTCM), the theme of the show next year will be ‘a new dawn for travel and tourism’ and the spotlight will be thrown onto the current state of the industry and more importantly, what the future holds. It will also look at the emerging trends and how innovation can drive the industry forward.