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Dubai ready to welcome visitors

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on June 27, 2020 | Last updated on June 27, 2020 at 09.23 pm
Dubai, UAE coronavirus, Covid-19, warning, travel, Coronavirus outbreak, tourists, Visa, Flight, lockdown, Pandemic,

The emirate has appeared in the top one to five destinations that people are looking for from most of Dubai's source markets.

Dubai expects to first start receiving tourists from those countries which are already open or opening for tourism and where people are returning to their normal life, said a senior official.

"Over the last three weeks, we have seen people in many countries returning to their normal way of living - going back to work, while some schools are also opening in some places. We have seen a bit of shift in countries like Germany, Spain, France and Greece. Many of these destinations are either open or opening for tourism market. We expect to start first with the countries that are ready. Although, there are going to be challenges ahead of us, we have great confidence in the tourism sector and Dubai," said Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism.

Airports in Dubai will welcome tourists from July 7, following over three months of restrictions on international travel in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

Even though a few countries have opened up their tourism sectors, others still have restrictions in place for tourists.

Almarri said PCR test is mandatory for Dubai visitors and it can happen in the country of origin within four days of departure. But if the visitor is unable to do that, it can be conducted at Dubai airport. Also, travel insurance is mandatory for Dubai visitors and they will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine if tested positive at their own expense.

Almarri hoped a gradual opening up of the markets over this course of summer.

Ready to welcome tourists
"Here in Dubai, we remain dynamic to face any challenge. Currently, we have all precautionary measures in place across the city and are ready to welcome people. We assure that Dubai tourism will recover over the coming seasons and we are also sure that Dubai will come on top of it," he said, while replying to queries of industry executives.

"We are completely ready. Since mid-May, we have been opening gradually and all the landmarks are open now. Hotels, resorts, water parks, beaches: all these have their own safety measures and rules of social distance in place to make sure everybody feels safe. All our tourism offices are open and we are working with 3,000 partners to ensure everybody is ready to take bookings," Almarri pointed out.

Ayman Ashor, cluster general manager, Al Bandar Rotana and Al Bandar Arjaan by Rotana, said the hospitality industry is very positive and excited with the reopening of the emirate for tourists from July 7.

"Dubai is the first to open for tourism and also now it one of the safest in the world. We are expecting tourists initially returning from European markets including Germany, the UK and Holland as well as America. In fact, we have already started booking from Germany and other European markets. We are receiving a mix of visitors - individuals and families who are mainly leisure travellers not business," Ashor told Khaleej Times.

With regard to Asian markets, he said it might take longer for tourists from Asian markets to return.

Replying to a question of why visitors are flocking back to Dubai again, he said: "They feel that Dubai is very safe. Dubai used to impress all the world and it proved yet again to the world of how it protected the residents and overcome the pandemic very quickly."

Avinash Adnani, managing director of Pluto Travels, expects most of the initial people coming to Dubai will be business people coming from Africa and Iran.

He said the return of visitors to Dubai will depend on two factors - flights are operational to that country and secondly people should be able to go back peacefully without being quarantined in the returning country.

"More than tourists, a lot of business people and traders will start coming in. Because July and August are the leanest time for incoming tourists. By September, tourists will start coming but now business people will take advantage of reopening the market," he said.

"The UAE proactively managed the Covid-19 situation. Dubai was considered to be the safest destination in terms of human safety and now it is the safest in terms of hygiene safety. That will be a very big positive for the local tourism sector," added Adnani.

Lot of flexibility
Dubai received record 16.73 million overnight visitors in 2019 - an all-time high, growing by 5.1 per cent and surpassing growth forecast of the UN World Tourism Organisation by over one per cent.

Almarri pointed out that if there is a challenge in a specific market, the emirate turn its attention, marketing and capacity to other markets.

"We have a lot of flexibility in that. We do see a large number of people still considering travelling within this year. We see international markets opening and we are working with all relevant bodies to come back in a very strong way," he underlined.

Replying to a query about whether tourism sector will go back to pre-Covid level, he said, "Definitely, yes. We are very sure that tourism in Dubai will overcome this challenge very quickly. In reality, people have already started looking at their next destination and Dubai is at the top of their list." - waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com





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