As the country enters Phase 2 of efforts to ease Covid-19 restrictions today, many local businesses stand to gain from the government’s efforts to gradually open the economy, an expert in the travel and tourism industry has said.
Earlier, various organisations in the country had announced that more leisure, recreational facilities are reopening from July 1. Tawfeeq Travel Group CEO Rehan Ali Syed told Gulf Times that gradual movements of people will be seen across the country following the move.
Asked what this would mean for the tourism industry, specifically to its stakeholders in Qatar, in terms of helping them rebound from income losses, the absence of international and local tourists, and other challenges, Syed said: “With most of the entertainment and recreational facilities planned to open in the next two phases, we expect a surge in demand for local businesses.”
He also said, “Everyone is keen to step out of their houses to spend some quality time together. With the directive from the Ministry of Public Health, we look forward to promoting staycations, dhow cruise excursion, the state-of-the-art Qatar Museum and Qatar National Library – something everyone in Qatar needs to explore.”
In the current scenario, Syed said the global travel industry is expected to lose “$80bn in this fiscal year (2020).” Whilst the industry is going through a very difficult time, Syed stressed that it is important for the company to be prudent about cost, revisit operational processes, and being innovative about generating new revenue streams.
“The industry partners are working closely with several organisations and governments to facilitate repartition of their nationals. Tawfeeq Travel has been working relentlessly to upgrade skill and expertise to ensure that we continue to develop and provide clients with unmatched service and products. Also, we forged a new relationship with American Express Global Business Travel as their official travel partner in Qatar,” Syed said.
Asked to give a forecast on Qatar’s tourism industry after the final lifting of Covid-19 restrictions by September, Syed said: “Phase 4 is the time when we will have most of the restrictions lifted and then it all depends on the ease of travel restrictions into Qatar.
Assuming business operations are back to normal, Syed noted that the country could expect “substantial increase” in demand from local and international tourists.
“We are expecting to have the cruise season taking off in November; last year we had close to 250,000 tourists arriving in Doha through various cruise liners. The FIFA Club Championship planned towards the year end, as well as various other sporting events will also give a boost to inbound tourism into Qatar,” Syed explained.
Despite the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the global markets, Syed revealed that the company is continuing with expansion plans to open its 13th retail outlet on Salwa Road this July and the 14th outlet at the DECC Metro Station by September this year.