As 2020 comes to an end, TMR invited a number of travel advisors and suppliers from all over the world to pen their own letter to the industry, reflecting on the year that was and looking to 2021.
We had a flying start to 2020 and were very optimistic of this year in particular due to some major events lined up in our region including the EXPO 2020 in Dubai (supposed to be scheduled in October 2020). However we had a major setback with the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, putting a total border closure and lockdown in the United Arab Emirates by March 22. Our offices were closed and we adapted to a complete work from home model of working.
The situation looked very bleak with almost all countries closing borders and the air corridors being frozen. This was alarming and was putting everyone in a grey situation with an unpredictable future in hand. With zero current bookings and all future bookings being cancelled, we knew this will stay for long.
However we recouped ourselves and made a joint effort to be back in our offices as soon as the situation improved internally in U.A.E. in late May after almost 2 months. We joined back to put a survival plan and a future plan amid this pandemic albeit with a smaller team. One of the hardest decisions during this testing period was to furlough some the greatest talents from our team and to trim the cost of operations as much as we can.
The idea was to motivate each other during these difficult times and to focus on areas of improvement, learn new skills, re-organize and re-establish partnerships. As a result we started building new products in our region, with joined partnerships with build in new destinations in our portfolio like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. We also focused on our technology and distribution channels and plugged in gaps where needed. We up scaled our marketing skills and learned new, innovative and cost effective ways of digital and social media marketing.
We saw some light at the end of the tunnel by July when Dubai opened its borders to tourists.The numbers of incoming clients were still meager with most of the countries still closed, but it gave us hope to start building on our communication. We started the campaign “Today we Dream…Tomorrow we Discover.” We start our communications and marketing campaigns with our partners to spread the word.
The situation has improved in the past few months and we are happy to say that we have survived the worst storms and are still sailing although on a rough terrain. In a time of social distancing, working from home, and having more "free" time than we could have anticipated at the beginning of this year, a question we kept asking ourselves was where do we see ourselves post pandemic period. We are primed for self-reflection and taking time to set professional and personal goals for not only the remainder of 2020 but for this new decade.