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'Bleisure' tourism, conscious travel: 5 post-Covid travel trends in Dubai

When the world was shutting down due to pandemic, the emirate was on-track and opened everything it promised



by

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Mon 9 May 2022, 9:31 PM

Last updated: Tue 10 May 2022, 4:31 PM

Dubai is now emerging as a top destination for “bleisure” tourism, as more people fly into the city with a mix of business and leisure needs in mind, a spokesperson for a government entity has said.

“The demographics of Dubai’s visitors are changing,” said Hoor Al Khaja, acting associate vice-president for International Operations at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET).

“More people are travelling to Dubai to visit and remotely work from here. Even for this travel market, many of our delegates chose to come in earlier, utilise their holidays and do some sightseeing. Some are choosing to stay on after the exhibition to enjoy their time here,” Al Khaja told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of Arabian Travel Market 2022, which opened on Monday.

“The city has been booming with new segments and new demographics. We are trying to cater to this new market by offering a new range of visas. We closely monitor their behaviours, search trends and more to meet their needs.”

Hoor Al Khaja is acting associate vice-president for International Operations at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.
Hoor Al Khaja is acting associate vice-president for International Operations at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.

Dubai had 2.2 million visitors in the first two months of 2022 alone. One of the reasons Dubai has become extremely popular is because of the way the city handled the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Hoor Al Khaja. “We shut down quickly, and we were quick to reopen, but our reopening was very thoughtful and safe. It was a showcase for us as a city of how agile and resilient we are.”

When the world was shutting down, we were going ahead and opening everything we promised we would. We have opened up many new attractions, from Ain Dubai to Deep Dive to the Museum of Future. So as the world comes out of the pandemic, there are so many things for tourists to see and do.

Some of the trends

Bleisure: More people are choosing to combine business and leisure in the city. Several people choose to work remotely while on holiday in the city.

Conscious Travellers: People are searching much more aggressively about the safety protocols and security measures before travelling. This is especially true for those with families. In this respect, Dubai becomes much more appealing as people realize that the city is safe and accessible

Short Booking Lead Times: Traditionally, many of our travellers in markets like Europe or America would book a couple of months or even a year in advance. However, with all the uncertainties and volatility in travel that has cropped up, many people are choosing to make their bookings just a couple of weeks in advance.

Sustainability: More travellers are conscious of the environment, and this plays into their decisions about which destination to pick. People are picking cities that match their ethos. With initiatives like Dubai Can- where residents are being encouraged to carry refillable bottles instead of single-use plastic bottles- Dubai is catering to those segments of travellers.

Long-term tourists: There has been a steady increase in long-term visitors. There are no longer static visitors who come and leave. The tourist demographics have changed significantly, and they keep coming back for longer periods of time.

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