THE NEW NORMAL

Business Traveller Middle East|June 2020

THE NEW NORMAL
HOW TRAVEL IS EVOLVING IN A MID-PANDEMIC WORLD
GEMMA GREENWOOD

The Covid-19 pandemic will arguably change the way we travel for good. For now, most will only travel out of need, rather than choice or desire, and only if the means are available to do so. Health and wellbeing are the overriding priority as we all adapt to a new way of living and working.

With most countries around the world still in semi-lockdown at best, the travel industry has been forced to adapt rapidly.

In the Gulf, destinations have been quick to engage with would-be travellers, launching compelling marketing and social media campaigns, as well as virtual tours and digital tools to ensure they remain ‘front of mind’ and in touch with their audiences.

At the same time, the region’s airlines and airports have led the way in introducing pioneering health screening measures and hotel groups have rolled out stringent cleaning and social distancing programmes to ensure guests feel safe in their care.

Here, Business Traveller Middle East highlights some of the Gulf region’s most compelling mild pandemic traveller engagement campaigns, as well as the stringent safety and safety measures travellers can expect from airlines, airports, hotels and destinations going forward.

THE CAMPAIGNS

Dream of Dubai

Although business and leisure travel plans have taken a backseat, millions of people are dreaming of embarking on unique and authentic travel experiences when the world gets back to normal. Dubai Tourism’s global ‘Till We Meet Again’ video campaign, launched in April, taps into this, with stunning footage of Dubai’s deserts, beaches and skyline reminding visitors what is waiting for them when travel resumes. The tourism agency is also inviting the world to take immersive virtual city tours on its Dubai 360 platform. Armchair travellers can take in rooftop views, access destination landmarks and take a look inside cultural hotspots such as Etihad Museum, Dubai Museum and Al Fahidi Fort.

Wear a ‘cool’ mask with Anantara

There’s many ways to wear a mask and not necessarily a surgical one. That’s why Anantara has gone down the pampering route and asked experts from its hotel spas to recommend some skin, hair and body boosters that guests can try at home. Using the hashtag #AnantaraEscapism, its online self-care tips range from soothing cucumber and yoghurt face masks to vanilla bath bombs.

#StayCurious about Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is encouraging would-be visitors to #StayCurious, having launched a virtual exploration platform featuring original education and entertainment content to give them a taste of the emirate’s “magic and hospitality”. The interactive 360-degree experience has five themes: Stay Adventurous – tours, views and history and heritage insights; Stay Indulgent – cooking workshops and masterclasses with the emirate’s top chefs; Stay Enlightened – free virtual courses and education content from leading institutions; Stay Creative – an exploration of Abu Dhabi’s cultural offerings; and Stay Entertained – a hub that links to virtual events and activations.

Mix-up it up with Rotana

From yoga and fitness sessions with in-house instructors to mocktail and cooking masterclasses with hotel bartenders and chefs, all live-streamed online, UAE-headquartered hospitality group Rotana has been going all out to keep in touch with its guests around the world as part of its #homewithrotana campaign.

#FindRAKLater

Ras Al Khaimah is taking the world on a virtual tour of its diverse tourist attractions, from rugged landscapes and adventure activities to its unspoiled beaches under its #FindRAKLater campaign, launched across all social media platforms. The stunning images and footage encourage visitors to plan bucket-list experiences in the emirate for when travel resumes.

Rub virtual shoulders with Accor’s A-lister line-up

Members of Accor’s lifestyle loyalty programme, ALL – Accor Live Limitless, are being treated to interviews and talks with celebrities of sport, food, entertainment and more. The line-up includes boxer Amir Khan, actors Tom Felton, Alexander Ludwig and Nargis Fakhri and fashion designers Adama Paris (Senegal) and Benjamin Aydin (Turkey). Live beats from the UAE’s DJ Bliss (pictured) and DJ Sadcat, Turkey’s DJ Aksak and DJ Jabbar and Morocco’s DJ Nawfel, have been getting the party started for ALL guests throughout May, with more to come.

Celebrate the ‘joy of travel’ with One&Only

Luxury hotel group One&Only has collated a list of songs to dance to, films to watch, dishes to rustle up and books that are must-reads to celebrate the ‘joy of travel’. Based on insights from One&Only colleagues and friends, the recommendations are designed to inspire wanderlust until the world is open to explore once again. For example, Mauro Colagreco, Chef Patron of Celebrities by Mauro Colagreco and Beach Bar & Grill by Mauro Colagreco at Dubai’s One&Only Royal Mirage recommends sausage and butter ravioli, saying “good fresh pasta always transports me to great memories of my trips to Italy”.

THE PROTOCOLS

AIRLINES

Emirates

On the ground: all customers and employees are temperature checked with thermal scanners and protective barriers have been installed at check-in counters. Gloves and masks are mandatory for all customers and employees and cabin crew, boarding agents and ground staff who interact directly with travellers wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including a protective disposable gown and safety visor.

In-flight: a modified in-flight service that focuses on reducing contact and infection risk: no magazines and print reading material available; and cabin baggage must be checked-in – only essential items such as a laptops, handbags, briefcases and baby items permitted on board.

Cleaning: aircraft cabins are fitted with advanced HEPA air filters, which remove 99.97 per cent of viruses and eliminate dust, allergens and germs from cabin air. After each journey aircraft undergo enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes.

COVID-19 TESTING FIRST

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June 2020