Dubai's Covid rebound sets a ‘quick’ example

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on March 20, 2021
Photo: Wam

Confidence returns fast thanks to policies; vaccination to be single KPI

Dubai will be early leaders to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic and will lead the recovery firmly from the front, top public and private industry executives said during a forum.

“Dubai reminds us every day that life is for living, not just for working. No city does this better than Dubai. This is the reason a lot of people are coming here and are envious of progress we have made to overcome the difficulties of the pandemic. We have consistent strategy which means that we will be early leaders on the way out of this pandemic,” said Paul Griffiths CEO of Dubai Airports.

He said Dubai’s unique geographic and economic position has an impact on the world and “there are plenty of people who will love to take the opportunity of the pandemic to steal our crown”.

Griffiths was speaking during Dubai Global Events Re-opening Forum hosted by Dubai Tourism. Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism; Mohammad Al Hashimi, vice-president of commercial products at Emirates; Mark Willis, CEO for the Middle East and Africa at Accor; Matt Denton, president for MEAA at dmg events; and Trixie LohMirmand, executive vice-president of the Dubai World Trade Centre, spoke during the forum.

Vaccination is single KPI

Griffiths said if the world has to choose single KPI (key performance indicator) to see how quickly it is going to get out of the pandemic, it will be the global vaccination rate.

“Although it is hovering at four per cent, which is fairly low, but the fact that the UAE, Israel, the UK and the US have exit strategies based on vaccination is an encouraging sign. It is important that we have to get mobility back but unfortunately the world sees a huge variance.”

Almarri said vaccination brings confidence to tourism industry.

99% Dubai visitors feel safe

“We began the vaccination programme for hospitality industry and have already completed the geographies like The Palm and continue to grow across Dubai,” Al Marri said, adding that authorities had over 170,000 inspections related to Covid-19 safety guidelines.

“We closed down numerous places, hotels and shops for non-compliance. Consistency and accountability has definitely been the theme throughout the last year,” he added.

Almarri further pointed out that international visitors were impressed with precautionary measures across Dubai during recent exhibitions.

“We had over 92 per cent of visitors saying Dubai is the safest place in the world to do business meetings. Around 99 per cent said they felt safe or very safe. Over 95 per cent felt safe at every touch point from airport to airline to hotel and their destination… we do expect events to pick up.”

Almarri revealed that many visitors extended their Dubai trip during Gulfood to conduct more business.

Al Hashimi stressed that coordination and collaboration within Dubai ecosystem ensured that tourism does come back to Dubai.

Paul Griffiths said countries have to rely on bilateral relationship that have reached similar stage of protection of their communities against pandemic. “We are close of a lot of countries and a lot meetings are going at the moment. We’ll see some announcement which means mobility of the world will start in a fairly short order,” added Griffiths.

Not gradual, strong return to normalcy

He pointed out that there is some strong indication that over the next few weeks things will move very quickly. “We have stayed in a rather static position for a long time but I am getting impression that the progress we are making about vaccination in the UAE, the US, UK and Israel gives up hope that life will start to resume to normalcy… There won’t be a gradual return, but there will be flood as four billion people globally have been in some sort of lock down over the last 12 months who will rediscover their freedom. So we are braced for a strong return.”

Dubai Airports is taking measures to make sure that it remains fit and ready as soon as traffic comes back, said Griffiths.


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