Most travel suppliers and sellers were optimistic about the resilience of the travel industry in during the discussions at the VIP panel session staged during the recent Business Travel Show Dubai.
The consensus was that no major impact had been felt yet, however, in December and future bookings of Jan & Feb 2009 are significantly going down
The sector mostly likely to be hit, they said at the Business Travel Show, was inbound leisure as key source markets such as the UK were some of the hardest hit by the current situation.
Hotels said room rates remained robust, but occupancies could soften, while airlines revealed that in terms of their global networks, the Middle East was the only sector where expansion, rather than consolidation, was the order of the day.
However, some Ttavel Management Companies represented warned that a few rude awakenings could be around the corner. Derin Cameron, the CEO of Kuwait-based TMC, Alshamel International, stressed that it was not just leisure sales that would soften in the coming months.
Multi-nationals were already tightening their belts and many that had previously failed to stick to their travel policies were vigorously adhering to them in order to cut costs, she said.
There was good news for no-frills airlines and hotels as corporates looked for savings when sending employees overseas.
The overriding message was ‘be prepared’ – while no one is sure what the future holds and the Gulf is likely to be more sheltered from the economic storm than most, all travel businesses should have contingency plans.
In a ‘survival of the fittest’ scenario, there are two success factors that remain constant – providing value for money and good customer service.
A note from the COO of Exotic Dubai Tours : The industry is seeing a dificult time already and on top are new strict controls of the DTCM in Dubai which are basically only scaring the tourists and travel companies away from the new investments. Recently camps of Desert Safaris in Aveer Area were completely buildozed.