By Tim Cordon
While the year is coming to an end, global communities continue to work tirelessly to combat the spread of Covid-19. It is no secret that the hospitality industry has been placed in an incredibly vulnerable position, but within that sobering reality, it is important to be resilient but also flexible, nimble and open-minded. With no doubt there will be several long term changes to how the travel and hospitality industries will function and interact moving forward. Another key aspect to consider is how travellers and guests themselves will ultimately evolve with regards to their behaviours, expectations and preferences. But, the hospitality industry has survived countless challenges and periods of economic downturn, and Covid-19 will be no exception. As we all know, this has been a year of absolute firsts for so many, and there’s been an enormous amount of learning and stretching in between. In times like these, we need to plan for the future, inspire our teams and remind them that there will be an end to this crisis, and that the hospitality industry will come back stronger than ever.
As we all look ahead to 2021, Radisson Hotel Group remains prudently optimistic and determined to continue implementing the five-year development and growth plan in the coming three years. We are confident that travel will continue to rebound, and more capital will be invested in the industry from both the private and public sectors.
The region remains one of the key focus markets for Radisson Hotel Group’s global development strategy and we aim to continue expanding our brand architecture and strengthening our presence. Looking towards the future, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates will continue to play a key role within our expansion. The Middle East portfolio currently has 73 hotels, resorts and serviced apartments in operation and 38 hotels in development. Looking at the current pipeline, we aim to open six hotels across the kingdom and three hotels within the United Arab Emirates, in 2021.
One of my core believes is that regardless of the negative effects that came into being, there are always new opportunities that arise as a result. Those who understand the new definition of ‘normal’, adapt and respond, will be able to benefit from these new opportunities. With that in mind we are busy preparing ourselves for an exciting year to come. From our second Radisson Collection in Saudi Arabia, the first Radisson Resort in Ras Al Khaimah to the group’s first hotel on Palm Jumeirah, 2021 has a lot in store for us.
While the recovery speed of the hospitality industry will be determined by the vaccine, and will be different based on the countries and areas around the world, many countries in Middle East have already started to see a recovery in the fourth quarter of 2020, be it from the domestic or international market. Once the vaccine becomes available, this will significantly improve our industry’s performance, and until then we need to remain optimistic and positive, listen to our team, be flexible, and make decisions quickly.
- The writer is Area Senior Vice President Middle East & Africa, Radisson Hotel Group
TTN is the most established trade publication in the Middle East distributed on a controlled circulation basis to members of the travel and tourism industry.
Published monthly by Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group, the region’s foremost trade publisher, TTN is aimed at professionals in the industry, from travel agents to airline and hotel personnel.
TTN provides in-depth and extensive coverage of relevant issues in the Middle East and North Africa as well as in other parts of the world. Travel related news, analysis, and new appointments together with information on up-coming exhibitions, marketing and promotional campaigns are presented in an innovative and striking colour tabloid.
Every issue also contains a collation of international and regional news and topical features of interest to readers.