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KT edit: Coolest winter and warm people of UAE

Malls were buzzing with activity and the Dubai Shopping Festival was back with a plethora of deals and discounts on offer.

Published: Wed 27 Jan 2021, 8:36 PM

The vaccination drive is in full swing, tourists are welcome, and the economy is looking up in the UAE. The numbers are in the country’s favour, and the overall sentiment received a boost after it opened to travellers for the month-long ‘World Coolest Winter’ campaign that concluded on Wednesday.

Malls were buzzing with activity and the Dubai Shopping Festival was back with a plethora of deals and discounts on offer. Many would have thought it too early to receive travellers but not the UAE that is known to defy and beat the odds. This country is about people and experiences and a never-say-never spirit. It is ambitious and thinks on its feet while moving with the times.

The country is home to people from over 200 nationalities who live together in the spirit of tolerance. It celebrates culture and food from across the world and has grown richer in every way from being the meeting place of the East and the West. Some see it as a middle ground, a happy place to be amid the storms of life that was made worse by the pandemic.

So it was natural that it became the world’s most favoured holiday hub during the crisis after the vaccination campaign was rolled out in December. In fact, the UAE was one of the earliest to begin the vaccination drive that has now covered more than two million people. Immunity against the virus is building in its population and life is expected to return to normal sooner than other countries.

Success, however, comes with sound planning. The first step was to tackle and contain the virus through testing, tracing and treating the infected. The next step was to slowly lift curbs and restart businesses while procuring and developing vaccines to inoculate the population. Safety remains top priority in the tourism sector that was hit hardest during the worst months of last year from April to September. The pleasant weather and the range of vacation options made it attractive for tourists who love its welcome and infinite energy. It may have been tourism with restrictions, or in a bubble but the UAE made it work by innovating in the sector and hosting events.

What changed the tide for the tourism sector was the successful staging of the Indian Premier League in September. The world sat up and took notice. People realised that if the UAE can do it, it’s time to travel and soak in the experiences and sights. Soon, staycations were promoted and the UAE became the healthy destination of choice for everyone. Many residents stayed in the country and rediscovered its beauty. Tourists converged with flights returning to some form of normal. The World’s Coolest Winter has been a resounding success, thanks to the warm people of the country.

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