The Middle East’s hotels are preparing to capitalise on pent-up global demand for ‘workations’, driven by social restrictions imposed by governments across the world over the past 10 months, according to research commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, the organiser of Arabian Travel Market (ATM).

“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,” said Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, ATM, which will take place live at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from May 16 to 19, 2021.

Fuelling this growth are companies like Facebook, Twitter and Spotify, which have announced that employees can work from home indefinitely, leading many experts to predict these digital professionals are likely to work remotely, whilst still connecting safely and securely with their physical offices.

“Longer term, the ‘on the go’ executive will be a far more common sight in hotels, whether it’s Gen Z singletons, millennial professionals, or freelancers who can earn a living from a laptop,” added Curtis.

With more than 50 per cent of the world’s working population doing so from home and an increasing number of entrepreneurial digital nomads now preferring to work remotely, the popularity of ‘workations’ will only increase, according to ATM research.

Initiatives such as Dubai’s remote visa programme, entitling visitors to stay for up to 12 months with access to co-working spaces and government support services, are catering well to this trend, Curtis noted.

Mark Kirby, COO of Emaar Hospitality, said the hospitality sector had been “quick to offer alternative solutions for those looking to combine working from home with leisure time”.

“The introduction of the ‘workation’ concept is not just a novel idea, it’s about making adjustments to meet the new market demands,” he added.