KT edit: The wisdom behind bolstering domestic tourism

However, it is a 45-day campaign called World’s Coolest Winter that has captured imaginations.

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Published: Sat 12 Dec 2020, 10:27 PM

Tourism was one of the first sectors that felt the tremors of the Covid-19 pandemic. With lockdowns imposed in most countries, air travel nearly came to a standstill globally. The UAE, which prides itself in being a global tourism hotspot, felt the impact too. However, with the resumption of normalcy, there is an urgent need to inject life into this sector. And one of the ways the UAE’s visionary Rulers are doing so is by bolstering domestic tourism.

The numbers point to the importance of domestic tourism in the UAE’s scheme of things — just last year, it contributed a staggering Dh41.2 billion to the national economy, accounting for 23 per cent of the revenue generation. Its importance is not lost on His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who recently launched UAE Strategy for Domestic Tourism, with the aim to develop schemes to regulate the sector. The idea is also to carve a ‘unified tourism identity’ for the UAE and double up the sector’s contribution to the economy in the next decade. Taking to Twitter, Sheikh Mohammed also posted a video that spotlights various landmarks and heritage sites across the UAE and invited people to explore them.


However, it is a 45-day campaign called World’s Coolest Winter that has captured imaginations. Every year, the UAE attracts thousands of tourists from across the world during the holiday season, when temperatures are relatively cooler but not too overwhelming to keep people indoors. Various initiatives, such as the Dubai Shopping Festival and Global Village, command a following of their own during these months. In many ways, a winter here offers truly memorable experiences and the insightfulness of the campaign is in highlighting this. “The UAE has the most beautiful winter, the most beautiful people and the most beautiful services,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

“Winter brings great moments and experiences. Like everything else in the UAE, we aim to make every winter in the best in the world.”


If one thought the pandemic would dampen people’s travel plans, they couldn’t be more mistaken. This winter, once again, the UAE is expecting an influx of tourists, but the authorities have been careful in actively promoting a Covid-conscious manner of experiencing the country’s tourist hotspots. Social distancing, sanitisation and mask-wearing continue to remain non-negotiable. A successful tackling of the challenges presented by Covid-19 has not only captured the imagination of prospective international travellers, but also residents, many of whom might just prefer to explore local hotspots during the festive season. Apart from revenue generated by domestic tourism, it also creates a significant number of jobs. Which is why reassessing and realigning priorities was well and truly the need of the hour.



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