An interesting panel discussion on Business Beyond 2020 has taken place at the 10th Annual GM Conference by Hozpitality Group. Mr. Laurent A. Voivenel, Senior Vice President, Operations and Development for the Middle East, Africa and India for Swiss-Belhotel International expressed valuable opinion.
Addressing the gathering, Laurent stressed, “Dubai is among the top four most visited cities in the world and was recently named the ‘Rising Giant’ in the global hospitality industry. The city is rapidly emerging as a world-class leisure and entertainment destination. Expo 2020 has given a great boost for development of tourism infrastructure and attractions in the emirate which will serve as a new foundation for growth of tourism.”
According to industry experts, the legacy of Expo 2020 will expand well beyond the event. Laurent agreed and added, “The Expo is just one stop along the way. The huge investment in airports and hotels, broadening portfolio of attractions and facilities, diversification of source markets and collaboration between various business sectors are all accelerating the pace of Dubai’s growth into the future.
With this growth the competitive landscape for the hotel industry is also changing. Laurent stated, “We are in an era of shared economy. Rate pressures owing to supply and demand chain dynamics, expanding middle class in key source markets, growth of low-cost carriers, changing requirements of travellers based on changing demographics, continued challenges from OTAs, emergence of new forms of competition such as Airbnb, rapid digitalization and advancing technology are all pushing our industry towards a new ecosystem defined by collaboration, quality and consumer value.”
Laurent continued, “This change requires a new strategic approach from hoteliers – one that enables hotels to understand market trends and build the internal capabilities needed to succeed in a new environment. The more we tailor our products to offer local experiences and value for money the better conversion we can expect. There is need to build on experiential travel and hospitality.”
According to World Travel and Tourism Council statistics, Dubai’s hospitality sector is forecast to experience strong, sustained growth over the coming years, with occupied room nights set to reach 35.5 million annually in 2019, representing a robust 10.2% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) over the next 20 months.