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Coronavirus Pandemic

UAE allows residents to travel: How will traveling be amid Covid-19 pandemic

Waheed Abbas/Dubai
Filed on June 16, 2020 | Last updated on June 16, 2020 at 10.41 pm
UAE, allows, residents, travel, traveling, amid, Covid-19 pandemic

(Alamy image)

Guidelines on who can travel and where they can go are expected to be announced soon.

Starting June 23, some UAE residents will be allowed to travel abroad but, according to industry experts, people are likely to fly out "only if absolutely necessary".

In the latest advisory released on Monday, authorities said select categories of citizens and expats will be permitted to travel to certain destinations from June 23.

Guidelines on who can travel and where they can go are expected to be announced soon, according to the statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship, and the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management.

Looking into the current travel demand, travel agents said the long periods of quarantine in destinations around the world remain to be a top concern of UAE residents. Many are also worried about the possibility of getting stranded and not being able to return to the UAE, they said.

"The main thing on top of people's mind is that 'if I fly out, I should not be quarantined at the destination and I should be able to come back to the UAE'. That is only fear people have, more than the fear about getting infected in plane or social distance," said Avinash Adnani, managing director of Pluto Travel.

"People are just fearful of getting quarantined and not able to come back to UAE because so far limited number of people have been able to come back to the UAE."

Families not likely to fly out

Repatriation is still the primary driver of outbound travel these days, Adnani said.

"Repatriation passengers will mainly take flights because they are willing to be quarantined at their home country."
Families, he said, may not travel any time soon, considering the risks involved for seniors and children.

"Since children and elderly people will not fly, other members of the family will also not travel," Adnani said.

Essential travel

If UAE residents do decide to travel, it will most likely be because they really have to - and not for leisure, especially since a significant portion of the working population is facing pay cuts and unpaid leave, Adnani noted.

Echoing these sentiments, Shaik Shibli, head of Marketing at ITL World, said: "People remain cautiously optimistic about travel with health and safety remaining a concern. Whilst most will welcome this news as it is a step in the right direction, residents who are working are not likely to fly this summer unless absolutely necessary."

For Sumit Acharya, managing director of BCD Travel, the latest developments augur well for the travel sector.
"Overall, things are falling into place. It is a matter of time before people getting used to it," Acharya said. 

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