It might be slow going but there is ample optimism in the air and knowing the UAE, and its ability to rebound from calamity, like the 2008 global economic crisis, this is one more challenge to overcome. It starts with a decision and a winning attitude.
With open arms
A unified protocol to receive international tourists to the UAE is getting ready and will be announced in next two weeks, said a top official from the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) – Abu Dhabi.
Museums, cultural centers, hotels and public beaches in Abu Dhabi have already been opened for domestic tourists.
The 16,000-seat multi-purpose Etihad Arena will be open in October.
Dubai opened its doors to tourists Tuesday after nearly four months of closed borders and grounded flights.
Dubai Corporation for Tourism CEO Issam Kazim told CNBC that the emirate has invested heavily in health and safety measures.
“We’re very excited about this because tourism is a key pillar for Dubai,” Kazim told CNBC’s Capital Connection. “We have been making sure that the public and visitors’ health and safety is of utmost importance.”
Tourism accounts for 11.5% of Dubai’s gross domestic product.
Dubai Tourism launched a series of marketing campaigns, one of which, from June, was called “We Will See You Soon” in preparation for a July ‘red carpet’ welcome.
In its latest rendition, “Ready When You Are,” is a showcase of Dubai’s most famous attractions and adrenaline-filled activities announcing that tourists are welcome once again.
The mood has change since lockdown-time in April, when 74% of local travel and tourism businesses surveyed by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce said they expected to go out of business in May.
Research firm STR Global estimated in May that some 30% of jobs in Dubai’s hotels would likely disappear over the summer months until demand rebounds.
Dubai sees its aggressive testing and sanitization campaign, from hotels and malls to airports, as playing a major role in its reopening.
Quarantine will only be required for those that test positive, though travelers will need health insurance covering the virus or risk bearing the costs of the quarantine.
Leisure industry experts said they had seen a marked increase in reservations since the city announced it was opening up to international visitors, according to the National.
Hotels said they had received bookings from Russian and European travelers right through to September.
They said confidence in a quick return to normal operations was in part due to the success of the UAE in containing the spread of the Coronavirus.
“Online bookings have doubled in terms of planned stays versus the previous weeks,” said Alexander Lee, the Jumeirah hotel group’s chief commercial officer.
Dubai attracted close to 17 million visitors in 2019.