Hospitality sector being reshaped by disruptions, changing consumer behavior, new players.

DOMESTIC TOURISTS: There was a time when the focus was on international tourists. Now, local tourists are able to rediscover the lap of luxury within their own backyard in the UAE. Pandemic-era sweeteners could mean that a five-star room could charge for under Dh500 a night (some from Dh299 or $81.50 per night), including access to facilities.

REVITALISING HOTEL SECTOR: Guests and staff must wear masks. Social distancing must be observed. Lots of hand sanitizers all around. There are no buffet tables open yet (masked and gloves-wearing staff pick the food). Spa staff must wear masks. But other than these, many hotel properties in Dubai once again humming with guests as staycations have been the choice of necessity in the UAE.

CLOSER TO HOME: Apart from the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, Dubai is also home to almost 20% of the world's tallest real estate developments.

FIVE-STAR EXPERIENCE: In the UAE, one can get into a car and drive to a remote resort in the middle of the desert, or to a beach resort that may even boast of exclusive water villas. Photo shows Bab Al Shams on Al Qudra Road, a 45-minute drive from the city of Dubai.

DOMESTIC TOURISM ALOFT: There are no hard and fast figures out yet. But circumstantial evidence shows the hotel sector is seeing, or is on the edge of, a revival.

CHANGING LANDSCAPE: A recent report by professional services firm JLL urges tourism industry stakeholders to dig deeper into their imagination — to know the opportunities and grab them — amidst the changing landscape of hospitality globally.

FEAR FACTOR WEARING OFF? Aviation and tourism account for more than 13 per cent of the UAE’s GDP, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). As the starts to see what appears to be the tail-end of the COVID-19 pandemic, with hopes running high for a vaccine (UAE approved on September 14, 2020 the vaccine for frontliners) there’s a sense that the fear factor is wearing off. And Dubai’s hotel industry is once again seeing visitor inflows — mostly domestic tourists.

NATURAL ANTI-DEPRESSANT? There’s one big plus factor in “experience marketing” aimed at domestic visitors. Getting people to see what they thought were “familiar” things — or places — that are always within arm’s reach, allows them to rediscover what many have ignored all along, and see the "familiar", but in a different light. In a way, it becomes a natural anti-depressant for both the local guests and thousands of hotel staff, who are once again getting busier..