In July this year, while the rest of the world continued to ward off the initial aftermath of the coronavirus crisis, the city of Dubai opened its borders to international tourists while having strict health and safety protocols in place.
In a global economy that was hindered by lockdowns and physical restrictions, this move will perhaps remain a testament to the proactiveness of the city and its authorities to help the city return to normalcy as quickly, and safely, as possible.
But with an inevitable second wave of the virus being predicted by global health officials, and many European countries going back into lockdown, it is only natural that travel plans to and from many parts of the world will now be rendered unsafe and improbable.
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Unsurprisingly, there has been an expected, significant fall in the number of international travelers to and from the UAE this year. For a nation that is so heavily dependent on tourism to strengthen its economy, the next obvious step was to focus on domestic tourism, says Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM). “When travel restrictions were in place worldwide, Dubai’s rapid response to opening the city safely, meant we were able to enable early the domestic tourism market in parallel to the gradual reopening of different sectors in Dubai,” he says. “This led to a series of strategic meetings between Dubai Tourism and its key stakeholders and partners to explore ways of taking advantage of the city’s strong tourism ecosystem to attract and cater to UAE residents. The swift response and strong relief program put in place by the local and federal governments to support the economy gave a great impetus to hotels, as they focused on driving demand for domestic tourism.”
With such a collaborative effort happening behind-the-scenes, it is obvious why the city’s hotels and resorts have seen an increase in the number of locally-based guests. “Since opening for domestic tourism in May, we have seen great pick up in numbers with more and more residents looking at staycations in Dubai with many beach properties reaching above 80-90 per cent during the weekends,” Kazim adds.