Opinion and Editorial

Tourism: All roads lead to Dubai

Filed on July 7, 2021

Importantly, Dubai was also one of the first cities to open for foreigners in July last year after the outbreak of the pandemic.

Dubai’s tourism sector rebound is gathering pace despite the challenges faced by international markets. The recovery is driven by staycations as well as the arrival of international tourists into the emirate, thanks to massive vaccination campaigns, strict sanitisation of travel hotspots and strict safety protocols put in place for the public that encourage domestic tourism and attract foreign travellers. The latest data released by the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) showed 3.7 million tourists visiting Dubai during the 11 months from July 2020 to May 2021, reinforcing the emirate’s credentials as one of the top destinations for tourists from around the world. Importantly, Dubai was also one of the first cities to open for foreigners in July last year after the outbreak of the pandemic.

Strengthening Dubai’s position as a tourist hotspot, Emirates airline announced last month that close to 100,000 passengers will be arriving in Dubai on the local carrier’s flights for their summer holidays during July. Interestingly, a newly-released survey by YouGov has found that 25 per cent of UAE residents plan to take a domestic holiday for leisure over the next 12 months while 23 per cent are planning to take both domestic as well as international travel. With Dubai being the most popular place for staycations in the country, the emirate will significantly benefit from domestic tourism, hence, expedite the recovery of the hospitality sector and other allied industries such as retail and food and beverages. “The growing momentum of recovery not only reflects the fundamental strengths of Dubai’s tourism sector and the diversity of its source markets but also the emirate’s economic resilience and agility in the face of a rapidly fluctuating global environment,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said at the release of the data on Tuesday.

The local tourism authorities are also pinning high hopes on the upcoming mega event Expo 2020 which will attract millions of tourists over the six months. According to Helal Saeed Almarri, director-general of Dubai Tourism, the emirate has continued to lead global tourism recovery and has constantly set new precedents in how to safely yet effectively open internationally and critically stay open. “It has also placed us in prime position to drive growth, especially since we see Expo 2020 as a global pivot to pioneer the future of international tourism and business. The emirate’s tourism rebound in the second half of 2020, leading to industry stabilisation in 2021, is also a reflection of the crucial support extended by our stakeholders and partners,” said Almarri. The strong local domestic market, arrival of a large number of foreign tourists in Dubai during summer and Expo 2020 Dubai all point towards a solid recovery of the local tourism sector, which is one of the key drivers of the local economy.

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