Covid-19: Dubai scored well as a safe city, tourism chief

The Emirate has done a brilliant job not only in executing it but also communicating it well, says Issam Kazim

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Anjana Sankar

Published: Tue 11 Jan 2022, 7:32 PM

Last updated: Tue 11 Jan 2022, 7:44 PM

Dubai scored well in tourism during the pandemic by positioning itself as a safe city that offers a 360-degree experience at a time Covid-19 crippled the industry worldwide, Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said here on Tuesday.

Speaking on the first day of Expo 2020's Travel and Connectivity Week and sharing his experiences and strategies to reshape tourism during the pandemic, Kazim said safety had become the top priority for tourists, and Dubai understood it and played the cards well.

"People are focusing a lot on the health and safety measures that a city has put in place, and that gives them the confidence to travel – whether it is for business or family.

"Dubai has done a brilliant job not only in doing it and executing it but also communicating it well," said Kazim.

Whether it is hotel offerings that suit different pockets, retail, gastronomy, culture, relaxation and adventure, he said Dubai did not just "scratch the surface of these offerings, but it gives you an in-depth experience across the board," said the Tourism chief.

Dubai's multi-pronged strategy, including its high vaccination rates, mass testing and phased opening of businesses, and aggressive campaigns, have paid off, as the tourist numbers prove. The emirate welcomed 4.88 million tourists between January and October 2021, and a total of 9.4 million room nights were booked during the same period.

Dubai Airports continues to be one of the busiest in the world with 24 million international passengers during the first 11 months of 2021.


Kazim said Dubai was the first country to impose a lockdown even while riding in the waves of a successful 2019 that clocked 16.73 million tourists coming to the city.

“We went into lockdown, but with the mindset that we need to put things in place and be as safe as possible before we open up again.”

After opening up for domestic tourism in May 2020 with strict safety guidelines, Kazim said Dubai was “perfectly ready” to welcome global tourists by July last year.

He said Expo 2020 opened its gates on October 1 also came at the right time for the world to come together and share their ideas.

“Expo 2020 has been tremendous for us, and the message was very powerful and timely as it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the nation,” he said.

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