Workation in the Middle East

Hotels throughout the Middle East are preparing to capitalise on the pent-up global demand for workations, driven by social restrictions imposed by governments across the world over the past months.

Many travel experts are expecting a surge in workations in 2021 and beyond, a trend that was apparent in 2019, but one which now has such pent-up demand due to the coronavirus travel restrictions.

Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, which will take place live at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from May 16-19, 2021, says, “The hotel industry in the Middle East has gradually started to recover, especially in places such as Dubai. Staycations created the initial demand after lockdown, the next step has been the continued growth of workations, which are also referred to as bleisure stays, which tend to bring in more visitors from overseas.” This year, ATM will be themed ‘A new dawn for travel and tourism’.

With over 50 per cent of the world’s working population doing so from home and the rise of entrepreneurial digital nomads who prefer to work remotely, the popularity of workations will only increase. “And, on that point, as an example, Dubai has introduced a remote visa programme that would entitle visitors to stay for up to 12 months, with access to co-working spaces and government support services,” says Curtis.

To accommodate the needs of the ‘new normal’ smart working traveller even further, an increasing number of hotels in the MENA region are offering pop-up co-working spaces with the aim of rethinking and making the most of the hotel space, which is no longer considered just as a place to stay, instead, it becomes a potential work environment.

“Depending on the effectiveness of the vaccines being rolled out as well as travel and other social restrictions, this demand could broaden to include families. If children are being home-schooled it would make little difference if they were at home or on a workation with their parents,” adds Curtis.

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