Dubai reopens to vacationers: ‘We have to be life like’ but ‘assured’ on sector rebound

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Jorg Greuel | Stone | Getty Images

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Dubai opened its doorways to vacationers Tuesday after almost 4 months of closed borders and grounded flights, the newest within the desert metropolis’s efforts to revive an financial system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic and deflated oil costs.  

The glittering business capital of the United Arab Emirates, identified for its high-end motels, dramatic landscapes and superlative points of interest just like the world’s largest mall and tallest constructing, is among the many first Middle Eastern locations to restart tourism. But it comes at a difficult time: air journey stays at multi-decade lows, many would-be vacationers concern catching the virus, and the Gulf area’s notorious summer season temperatures are hitting scorching ranges of 100 to 110 levels Fahrenheit. 

Nevertheless, Dubai Corporation for Tourism CEO Issam Kazim is assured. The emirate has invested closely in well being and security measures, he instructed CNBC, and is prepared to welcome stressed vacationers who’ve been grounded of their properties for months. 

“We’re very excited about this because tourism is a key pillar for Dubai,” Kazim instructed 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 home product. 

Addressing challenges of the present local weather — each with regard to well being and climate — Kazim was prudent but hopeful. 

 “I think we have to be realistic. What happened on a global scale, it’s not something any one of us would have imagined,” he mentioned. “We of course still are very confident, optimistic in a growth surge, and of course we’ve made sure that during this period of time… Dubai remains top of mind.” 

In an effort to obtain this, Dubai Tourism launched a collection of selling campaigns, one in every of which, from June, was known as “We Will See You Soon” and promised to welcome guests within the close to future. Its newest rendition, “Ready When You Are,” is a showcase of Dubai’s most well-known points of interest and adrenaline-filled actions asserting that vacationers are welcome as soon as once more.  


“This has helped us again to rise up on the search lists across different digital platforms, which means that this has been getting the positive impact that we were after, and we’ve worked with our friends and visitors, whether they’re influencers or others,” Kazim mentioned.  

Already, social media influencers are taking over the chance: Nas Daily, a journey vlogger with 1.eight million Instagram followers, has been posting Instagram Live movies this week from the Burj Khalifa and showcasing his visits to iconic Dubai landmarks. It’s not clear whether or not his go to was sponsored; he didn’t reply to a CNBC request for remark.

Tourism sector preventing for a comeback after a devastating three months

Dubai has one of the diversified and non-oil dependent economies within the Gulf. It depends on sectors like hospitality, tourism, leisure, logistics, property and retail — all of which noticed enterprise plummet, not simply within the emirate but the world over, as government-mandated lockdowns have been imposed to stem the unfold of the virus.  

During Dubai’s strictest lockdown interval in April, when all but important companies have been shut and residents had to apply for police permits to go away their properties, 74% of native journey and tourism companies surveyed by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce mentioned they anticipated to exit of enterprise within the subsequent month. 

Data just isn’t publicly out there as to what number of tourism companies have had to shut completely. But analysis agency STR Global estimated in May that some 30% of jobs in Dubai’s motels alone would doubtless disappear over the summer season months till demand rebounds. 

Some motels have closed altogether, whereas main manufacturers like Atlantis and Le Royal Meridien have seen bookings decide up after providing particular low cost packages to residents who need a luxurious staycation away from their properties. 

Dubai sees its aggressive testing and sanitization marketing campaign, from motels and malls to airports, as enjoying a significant function in its reopening. It was lately awarded a Safe Travel Certification from the World Travel and Tourism Council, and it plans to provide Covid-19 testing to each arrival that does not present a current adverse check consequence. Quarantine will solely be required for those who check constructive, although vacationers will want medical insurance protecting the virus or threat bearing the prices of the quarantine. In phrases of whether or not Dubai would bar guests from high-risk nations, because the EU has executed with Americans, Kazim mentioned that was nonetheless being studied.

An abra driver wears protecting gloves and a face masks on March 18, 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Francois Nel | Getty Images

Notably, UAE capital Abu Dhabi stays closed to vacationers and even to Dubai residents who do not present a current adverse Covid-19 check consequence. That means guests to Dubai cannot make the 90-minute drive to see the long-lasting Grand Mosque or the Louvre Abu Dhabi. But that comes down to a distinction in methods, Kazim mentioned.

“From a Dubai perspective of course we put our measures in place which align with the UAE’s overall approach, but I guess every emirate also has their own method of reopening, their own plans and strategies for reopening as well,” he mentioned.

Dubai’s tourism authorities will have to look forward to extra knowledge to are available in earlier than they will assess the reopening’s success. But Kazim and his workforce consider it will be a welcome alternative for vacationers after a whole season in lockdown. 

People “are looking at the next destination,” he mentioned. “They’ve been locked up in their homes for quite some time, and they want to get out and about again.”

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