Qatar’s Hospitality sector resilient with its innovation and government support

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Regional industry experts opine that Qatar’s strong focus on health and safety, innovation supported by extensive government initiatives will allow its hospitality industry to emerge stronger from the pandemic’s effects. 

Safak Guvenc Marriott International’s Area Vice President for Luxury in Eastern Europe and Gulf Levant and Pakistan region has stated that “The Qatar government’s overall easing of COVID-19 restrictions has been planned efficiently, ensuring the health and safety of residents and significantly helping the hospitality sector to work on its recovery in a co-ordinated manner.”

Mr. Guvenc expressed that the nation’s phase 4 of the gradual lifting of restrictions comes at a critical time as the industry heads into what is usually its busiest season of the year.

Qatar lifted several restrictions in a two-phased manner on September 1 and on September 15 which allowed many firms across the country to reopen but with all safety protocols in place.

“We have already seen a demand for local travel and dining in our properties. Now with the easing of restrictions around events, group gatherings and travel into the country, we remain optimistic about the impact it will have on our properties and the tourism sector as a whole,” Mr. Guvenc said.

“We thank the leaders of this country and local authorities for their guidance and communication throughout this pandemic. We would also like to thank the Qatar National Tourism Council and Qatar Airways for their ongoing support and efforts,” he added.
Guvenc described Qatar’s hospitality industry as “very resilient and has proven over the years how well it can cope with adversity and continue to re-invent itself. And we have seen that again now, going through this pandemic”.

“As a company, we continue to take on-board learnings from this crisis and use them as we adapt whatever the future holds. The world is constantly changing and many of the learnings we have seen through Covid-19 will be integrated into how we do business in the future,” the regional VP for luxury added.

The Marriott International official remarked that COVID-19 has not only changed the business but also how they now operate.

“It has also shifted travelers’ expectations and has fundamentally changed human attitudes and behaviors.

“We understand that people are thinking about travel differently now and so are we. So, since the early stages of this pandemic we have been working to raise our exacting standards to an even higher level with new protocols for the current circumstances while also reimagining how we can deliver the customer experience in a hygienic yet human way,” he said, adding that they also continue to work with local authorities and follow the guidelines and restrictions they have in place.

He observed that Marriott International as also setup Marriott Global Cleanliness Council.

“This team of experts from the field of medicine and public health is helping us deploy scientifically supported practices and innovations with a focus on developing the next level of hospitality cleanliness standards, norms and behaviors,” Guvenc said.

The official stressed that Marriott International will remain dedicated to supporting the growth of the hospitality sector in Qatar, and looks forward to also ramping up its efforts for the FIFA World Cup 2022, which will welcome travelers from across the globe.