Think 2020 and the images that come to mind are exactly the ones we would like to forget. From lockdowns to hospital wards filled with Covid-19 patients, there was enough and more to keep us on our toes all the time. And yet, there was a sliver of hope that we all held on to even when the going got tough. That hope emanated from the spirit of the nation that sprang into action immediately when the crisis hit. It was amid a public health crisis that the UAE’s Mars mission was accomplished. Following a well-thought-out vaccination programme, the UAE was able to open up completely for visitors and host what is easily the greatest show on Earth.
Recognising these efforts, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, remarked, ‘Dubai is back again.’ The power of these words cannot be emphasised enough as they encapsulate the monumental efforts made by the government to not only recover from the Covid-induced crises but scale newer heights when it comes to the economy. The aviation sector, for one, was the worst hit in 2020 as travel restrictions were imposed. Today, it is a different story. Emirates airline’s half-year net loss has come down to Dh5.7billion from Dh14.1 billion last year, while Sharjah’s Air Arabia made profits during the third quarter in 2021. The ongoing Dubai Airshow, the first major aerospace exhibition to be held since the pandemic hit the sector, has had deals worth Dh200 billion signed in two days.
The recovery noticed in the aviation sector has obviously impacted others. It has also helped that Expo 2020 Dubai capture the world’s imagination. Thus far, it has had 3,578,653 individual visits, while the virtual visitation numbers have reached 15.7 million. Considerable growth has also been witnessed in the real estate. Cityscape Global, one of Dubai’s main real estate exhibitions, pointed towards this. In the first nine months, it is said that a total of 43,299 property transactions were made that are recorded at Dh104.3 billion.
All this would not have happened in the absence of concerted efforts made by the establishment to not only stabilise the economy but pointing it to the future. All this is also happening at a time when the public health crisis has largely been overcome with inoculation drives and life has pretty much come back to normal. This is a testament to the Dubai spirit — a belief in looking at solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time.