World Tourism Day: Tourists are back in Dubai for its hospitality, safety


Dubai - Travel inspires people, and helps build vital social, cultural and economic ties.

By Nandini Sircar

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Published: Sun 27 Sep 2020, 6:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 11 Jan 2023, 10:34 AM

Dubai is among the few cities in the world that is officially open to tourists following the successful management of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) and Chairman of Dubai Airports, took to Twitter on Sunday to stress that Dubai is safe for visitors. "Our home and hub Dubai is open to the world and recognised with @WTTC's (World Travel & Tourism Council) 'Safe Travels' stamp. With Dubai's enhanced safety measures and diverse attractions, visitors and tourists can confidently experience the city to its fullest," he tweeted.

His tweets came as the world marked World Tourism Day on September 27. "Tourism is a significant source of employment around the world. Travel inspires people, and helps build vital social, cultural and economic ties. This #WorldTourismDay, we salute the industry and reaffirm our commitment to support the safe recovery of global tourism," Sheikh Saeed added.

Tourists who are back in Dubai have hailed its Covid-19 safety measures.

An unusual trip in unusual times

Yousuf Ahmed Khan came to Dubai to meet his uncle and enjoy the city's sights. The 23-year-old has undertaken a quirky voyage in these unusual times. "From Lahore, I went to Dublin, where I stayed for two months. Then I went to Bristol and later travelled to Cardiff, where I stayed for two weeks. I also went to London, where I stayed for a week and then came to Dubai on September 20. I had to home-isolate only at a couple of places. Now, I am enjoying my time here with my uncle and exploring the city. I will return to Lahore on October 4," Yousuf added.

He said as a traveller, he feels very comfortable in Dubai. "Here in Dubai, it's much safer (for tourists)."

E-working, e-learning, vacationing

Travelling to Dubai from Indonesia is Nazia Saulat and her family. With work and education moving online, Nazia and her husband came to Dubai because of its "significant success" in curbing the spread of the virus.

"We landed here from Jakarta a couple of days back and will be here for at least three months. Here, there are far less Covid-19 cases. We've already been out and about exploring the city. We went to a mall the other day. My husband will be working and my children e-learning from here," said Nazia.

Reinventing tourism strategies

Meanwhile, industry leaders in the city are trying to reinvent strategies to give tourism the much needed boost.

Anup Surendran, Managing Director, Tour Dubai, said: "There is a pent up demand to make up for lost time and cancelled plans as guest-related bookings pick up gradually again with the weather getting better."

Tour operators are also training their staff to implement additional hygiene protocols to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their guests.

The Dhow cruise operator said: "We fumigate our venues periodically, conduct temperature checks for guests at all entry points, disinfect, sanitise and deep clean all common touch points, apart from wearing masks and gloves. Dinner on the boat is served following utmost precautions. We must get the ship sailing again."

Hotels following the safety protocols to a T are getting 'Dubai Assured' stamps from the government.

JS Anand, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LEVA Hotels, said: "We start to see some signs of recovery albeit at a very slow pace. Our teams have been fully briefed on essential preparatory and prevention measures. These range from hygiene measures including increased cleaning and sanitising frequency and strict adherence to the health and safety as advised by the local authorities."

Other industry players said the hospitality business is adapting to be creative, even if the footfall is presently low.

Monther Darwish, Managing Director for Palazzo Versace Dubai, said: "We have enhanced all sanitation protocols, invested in the latest technologies and assure our guests that a holiday in this country is safe and enjoyable even during a pandemic."

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