Plans For Tourism in The Middle East are “Mind-Boggling”
RIYADH: The head of the biggest hospitality company in Europe says that the rest of the world should learn from the “mind-boggling” plans for tourism in the Middle East. He also praised the Middle East’s ambitions in the field.
The chairman and CEO of Accor, Sébastien Bazin, stated on Nov. 29 during a panel discussion at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh that all the elements were in place for the Middle East’s tourism sector to prosper, with Saudi Arabia and the UAE in particular.
Involving the Local Economy
He said that, as tourists searched for unique cuisine and cultures, the secret to luring the next generation of travellers was to ensure that the local economy was involved with global objectives.
Bazin, 61, reflected on Saudi Arabia’s development and said he had never seen a nation have a leader, a strategy, skills, resources, and alongside a timeline in his life.
“What is being constructed here in ten years is astounding, and I hope we could have it in many other nations.”
“I am finally travelling to the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE after abandoning the despair and gloom of Europe.”
“It’s funny how much you people have taught us in the previous ten years.”
When discussing how to change the industry’s thinking, Bazin stated the secret is to encourage travel-related initiatives worldwide to think locally rather than internationally.
The local population, not only tourists, should be provided for in hotels of the future. That’s a significant change, and if you can win over the locals, then travellers will choose your hotel as their destination, he added: “Become one of the domestic players, and the tourists will be aware of your existence. Just behave and think like a local and be one.”
Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, emphasised the need to think “locally.”
He made the case that the younger generation of travellers prefers eco-friendly vacations where they may buy locally-made products.
The Future of Infrastructure
“That sustainability factor is significant for the future of infrastructure. The younger generation is more thoughtful and deliberate in activities. For instance, a hotel with access to the neighbourhood market may purchase fresh produce and apples from nearby orchards. Additionally, this is a component of infrastructure,” Al Marri added.
The Hertz Corporation CEO Stephen Scherr spent his time on the panel discussing infrastructure’s critical role in expanding the global tourist industry.
“You need to construct infrastructure that is welcoming and tolerant of the people,” he added.
Scherr continued by emphasising the value of public-private partnerships in ensuring the existence of such infrastructure, saying: “The necessary infrastructure is too expensive for the private sector to invest in on its own, so if you want to service a larger market, the government needs to step in and make this type of investment.”
Tourism in the Middle East is undoubtedly on the rise. It will be much greater than it is now in ten years.