Coronavirus: Staycations, local travel to kickstart UAE and GCC tourism, says report

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Staycations are expected to become the most popular choice of travel in the short to medium-term in the United Arab Emirates and the wider GCC region as countries see an easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, according to new research.

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The research on local tourism and domestic tourism from Colliers International, in partnership with Arabian Travel Market, also said that data revealed hotel bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48 km radius accounted for 77 percent of all bookings in April while domestic travel from Dubai accounted for 91 percent of searches and bookings within the same radius.

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“The research from Colliers International, in partnership with ATM, revealed the percentage of bookings to Abu Dhabi within a 48km radius increased from just 20 percent in January 2020 to 43 percent in March. While, in Dubai, the percentage rose from 19 percent to 36 percent,” read a report by the Emirates News Agency citing the ATM report.

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"Travelers still want to go on holiday, but safety has become a top priority. As a result, the staycation trend is expected to grow in the coming months, with residents keen to take a break away from their home for a few days in a location that is familiar to them, whilst flights are grounded, and international travel restrictions still in place," said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director for the Middle East at Arabian Travel Market.

Earlier last week, hotels in Dubai were told they would be allowed starting May 12 to reopen their private beaches to their guests while enforcing stringent preventive measures, the most important of which is mandatory physical distancing between individuals.

Dubai has been implementing widespread lockdown restrictions for over a month, with most businesses and public areas closed in order to combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.