DUBAI: A survey of 5,678 respondents living in the UAE and Saudi Arabia has offered much-needed hope to the travel and hospitality sectors. Carried out by online travel agency Cleartrip, it found that 72 percent of respondents said that they were happy to travel within the next six months once safety procedures were in place and restrictions lifted.
Digging deep into the results, while 70 percent said they were looking to travel to see family and friends, only 1 percent said that this was for business purposes.
With employees stuck at home and not seeing colleagues, let alone clients, does this mean that the rise of Zoom calls and online meeting platforms will do away with the need to travel to meet clients in person?
“Yeah, definitely, I think corporate business travel is going to see a sea change, which probably would have taken, you know, a decade or so (before COVID-19),” Amit Taneja, chief operating officer of Cleartrip, told Arab News, adding that the rise of video conference meetings with clients had accelerated the demise of business travel.
The impact on the region can be seen in the monthly poll by the US-based Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), which found that in February, 63 percent of respondents said that they had canceled all business trips to the Middle East because of restrictions related to COVID-19, with only 2 percent saying they had not canceled travel.
Looking to the future, just 7 percent of respondents in the February GBTA poll…