Dubai sees sharp surge in business, leisure travel

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Dubai - With Expo 2020 just around the corner, the emirate is expecting another rise in tourism

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Sat 11 Sep 2021, 4:19 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Sep 2021, 10:09 AM

As the world battles new Covid-19 variants and rising cases, Dubai has secured its spot as one of the safest vacation destinations — and the proof is in the tourism boom.

Ever since Dubai eased travel restrictions, the city has seen a surge in international visitors. And with Expo 2020 Dubai just around the corner, Dubai is expecting another rise in tourism.

From Abra drivers to cabbies, the emirate’s residents are looking forward to welcoming the tourists.

“I had a feeling it would take a few more months for tourists to come to Dubai. But now, people from many countries have already started coming here,” said Abdul Kalam, an Abra driver.

For the city’s taxi drivers, the increase in tourism also means they're busier than before.

A cab driver working at Metro Taxi company said: “Due to many inbound travellers, the airport taxis run out of number and then we are given the opportunity to take the guests to their hotels and accommodation.”

Hotels, service apartments and holiday homes are also recording an upsurge in bookings after a challenging year.

Vinayak Mahtani, CEO of bnbme holiday homes, said: “With major source markets blocked to travel to the UAE, we witnessed reduced occupancy. We are now seeing more tourists compared to last year."

"The previous year was all about staycations and accommodations for those who were stranded here. With an increase in guests, the rates of properties have stabilized, too.”

Travel operators confirmed that business travel has also been rising steadily since last month, with inquiries coming in from Asia, Africa and Europe.

Nasser Badawi, managing director of Avanti Tourism, said: “Dubai has become a place for conferences given the excellent airline service and facilities. We can also expect a huge number of people from China and Japan once they ease their travel restrictions.”

Mir Wasim Raja, manager of MICE & Holidays at Galadari International Travel Services, said tourists from the Indian subcontinent, Russia and Europe have begun pouring in and the numbers are expected to rise soon, thanks to Dubai’s many attractions.

“Many attractions have been added to Dubai, such as Ain Dubai, the View at the Palm and the world’s deepest pool, to name a few," he said. “The city is also known for being a mecca for shoppers. With the shopping festival commencing soon, we can expect to see a large chunk of shoppers in Dubai.”

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