Opinion: Local Businesses to Gain from Gradual Lifting of Restrictions
The second phase of gradual lifting of restrictions imposed on malls, shopping centers, street markets, and restaurants went into effect on 1 July 2020. Many local businesses stand to gain from the government’s efforts to gradually open the economy, said Tawfeeq Travel Group CEO Rehan Ali Syed in an interview with Gulf Times.
The Supreme Committee for Crisis Management announced that Qatar will lift its COVID-19 restrictions in four phases. We are currently in the second phase, which began on 1 July.
About the impact of the gradual lifting of restrictions, Syed said:
With most of the entertainment and recreational facilities planned to open in the next two phases, we expect a surge in demand for local businesses.’
Everyone is keen to step out of their houses to spend some quality time together. With the directive from the Ministry of Public Health, we look forward to promoting staycations, dhow cruise excursion, the state-of-the-art Qatar Museum and Qatar National Library – something everyone in Qatar needs to explore.’
In the current scenario, Syed said the global travel industry is expected to lose ‘$80bn in this fiscal year (2020). Whilst the industry is going through a very difficult time, Syed stressed that it is important for the company to be prudent about cost, revisit operational processes, and being innovative about generating new revenue streams.
The industry partners are working closely with several organisations and governments to facilitate repartition of their nationals. Tawfeeq Travel has been working relentlessly to upgrade skill and expertise to ensure that we continue to develop and provide clients with unmatched service and products. Also, we forged a new relationship with American Express Global Business Travel as their official travel partner in Qatar.’
When asked about a forecast of Qatar’s tourism industry after the final lifting of Covid-19 restrictions by September, Syed said:
Phase 4 is the time when we will have most of the restrictions lifted and then it all depends on the ease of travel restrictions into Qatar. Assuming business operations are back to normal, Syed noted that the country could expect “substantial increase” in demand from local and international tourists.
We are expecting to have the cruise season taking off in November; last year we had close to 250,000 tourists arriving in Doha through various cruise liners. The FIFA Club Championship planned towards the year end, as well as various other sporting events will also give a boost to inbound tourism into Qatar.’
Despite the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic on the global markets, Syed revealed that the company is continuing with expansion plans to open its 13th retail outlet on Salwa Road this July and the 14th outlet at the DECC Metro Station by September this year.
Al Tawfeeq Travel was founded in 2009 under the patronage of Mr Abdulla Ahmed Al Mustafawi Al Hashemi. It is part of the Al Hashemi Group which was established in 1955 by Mr Ahmed Bin Burgan Al Mustafawi Al Hashemi in Qatar. Check the full company profile here.