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Breaking Travel News investigates: Dubai reopens to international tourism

Breaking Travel News investigates: Dubai reopens to international tourism

Dubai will today open its borders to tourists and business visitors for the first time since the onset of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The city of infinite possibility will welcome visitors while continuing its commitment to assure the safety and well-being of all as an utmost priority.

The emirate will be following the guidance from the World Health Organisation in order to keep cases of the virus down to a minimum.

Visitors will be able to enjoy their holidays, including experiencing Dubai’s leading attractions immediately, from desert safaris, learning about its Arabian culture and heritage through to visiting the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.


The leading gastronomy scene and incredible shopping malls will also be on full display.

Ahead of landing in Dubai, visitors must take a PCR test up to four days (96 hours) prior to their date of travel, or if this has not been done, a PCR test will be carried out upon arrival at Dubai airports.

In addition to this, tourists are encouraged to check travel advisories from their home countries for guidance on outbound trips and to ensure the safety of all.

A complete health declaration form will be required by authorities from all travellers.

As a leading global destination, the city adopts the highest international health and safety standards.

Throughout Dubai’s hotels, attractions, water parks, beaches, shopping malls, golf courses and restaurants, visitors will see clear guidelines being followed to ensure the well-being of all visitors and residents.

Issam Kazim, chief executive of Dubai Corporation & Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “As we look forward to welcoming tourists to Dubai next month, the new travel protocols reinforce our commitment to not only provide visitors a well-rounded destination experience but also ensure their health and safety and that of all communities within the city.

“With the continued support of our stakeholders, Dubai Tourism is leading a strong effort to encourage travellers to visit Dubai and enjoy the wide diversity of offerings in one of the world’s safest destinations.”

He added: “The remarkable development and momentum of Dubai’s tourism sector over the past decade and its ambitious plans for the future – which remain undiminished despite the recent challenges – will ensure the city’s continued success as one of the world’s most popular destinations, as it continues to evolve and pioneer the new normal for the future of global tourism.”

National carrier Emirates has been doing its bit to prepare, and will be offering scheduled flights for passengers from seven additional cities in the month of July.

These include Khartoum (from July 3rd), Amman (July 5th), Osaka (July 7th) and Narita (July 8th), as well as Athens, Larnaca and Rome from July 15th.

This takes the total number of destinations that Emirates is offering to more than 50, facilitating additional travel options through a convenient connection in Dubai for customers across the world, while undertaking extensive measures to ensure the health and safety of customers and employees.

As Dubai reopens, Emirates will introduce new air travel protocols that facilitate travel for UAE citizens, residents and tourists while safeguarding the health and safety of visitors and communities.

Customers can book to fly between destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe or the Americas, through Dubai, as long as they meet travel and immigration entry requirements of their destination country.

Emirates has implemented a comprehensive set of measures at every step of the customer journey to ensure the safety of its customers and employees on the ground and in the air, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to all customers.

For more information on these measures and the services available on each flight, visit the official website.

As the city reopens, Dubai has unveiled a series of new guidelines designed seeks to minimise any further spread of Covid-19.

Helal Almarri, director general of the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai, explained: “We are expecting tourism to come back quickly.”

He added that it was vital for the world to reopen to travel, and only then could the emirate look to the future.

Speaking during a city briefing for stakeholders, which was held virtually for the first time, he added: “Over the next eight-to-ten weeks we will continue to see the opening of countries to travel, making it easier to plan, and we feel we will then be in a much more confident position.

“We are currently in phase two, looking to move back toward profitability, with phase three to follow, which will be a total reopening.

“We remain fully committed to the sector.”

The United Arab Emirates has, however, been excluded from a list of countries presented by the European Union as safe to travel.

Movement on this is “expected in the coming weeks,” said Almarri.

The Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing is currently seeking to raise awareness that the destination was now reopening, he explained, and will be looking to convert this into concrete bookings from September onward.

On arrival, Almarri told stakeholders that visa rules had not changed.

“However, tourists now have to have medical insurance, this is something that was needed in the past, but we are now more focused on it and we are looking at options on how to provide it.”

A PCR test will also be required for all visitors, taken up to four days before travel, or offered free by Dubai Airports.

If travellers test positive, they will be quarantined, with costs borne by the tourist.

Helal Almarri, director general of the Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing in Dubai, led an industry briefing earlier

Ahead of the reopening, hoteliers have been expressing their confidence in the long-term future of Dubai as a hospitality destination.

Chris Newman, chief operations officer with Emaar Hospitality Group, said: “With this week marking the reopening of Dubai International Airport, we are more than ever ready to welcome guests back to Dubai and to Address Hotels + Resorts across the city.

“With our guests’ health and well-being remaining our number one priority, we have worked tirelessly in the past few months in going above and beyond the international germ control standards to guarantee a safe stay in our hotels.”

He added: “We are delighted to continue to deliver intuitive guest experiences, and given that we boast the privilege of our hotels being in unrivalled locations, with some being directly connected to some of the most prestigious malls in the world and with front row views of Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain, we have worked diligently to tailor various shopping focused and children focused offers that meet the needs of families and couples alike traveling to Dubai. 

“The declaration of the World Travel & Tourism Council announcing that Dubai is a safe place to travel to could not have come at a better time.

“We will continue to deliver the Dubai promise of a safe and unforgettable holiday and will remain in tune with our target markets’ needs, to ensure we not only meet, but also exceed their expectations.”

Emaar operates a number of award-winning properties in Dubai

His views were echoed by Cenk Unverdi, regional general manager for Rixos Hotels in the United Arab Emirates.

He said: “Dubai’s stance toward technology and science has been praised by health experts as one of the countries to look up to in terms of their pandemic handling.

“As a result of strict measures, the United Arab Emirates has been among the most reliable destinations in the world, thanks to its high testing rate, age of the population and intensive care unit capacity.

“We, as Rixos Hotels in United Arab Emirates, are very positive and excited with the reopening of the emirate for international tourists from today.

“Dubai is not just the first to open for tourism, but also it is one of the safest in the world.

“We are confident on the return of our main source markets like the UK, Russia and CIS Countries.

“We already started receiving bookings from a mix of visitors - individuals and families in the last four-five days.

“All the relevant precautions, safety measures and rules of social distance in place to make sure everybody feels safe during their stay.”

Rixos the Palm Dubai Hotel & Suites took the title of World’s Leading Lifestyle Resort at the World Travel Awards

Pam Wilby, complex general manager, Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, added it was good to be back.

“We couldn’t be happier to be welcoming tourists back to Dubai and doing so in a very safe and considered way, to ensure the health and safety of our guests and associates is the number one priority. 

“At Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, we have gone above and beyond the very stringent health and safety protocols implemented by the United Arab Emirates government, and are confident that people will be able to experience a fantastic stay with all that we have to offer, while adapting to the ‘new normal’. 

“Our guests can enjoy many of their favourite food and beverage outlets as well as our impressive pool and beach options,” said Wilby.

Grosvenor House Dubai is recognised as the Middle East’s Leading Business Hotel by voters at the World Travel Awards, while Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa has taken the trophy for Middle East’s Leading Beach Resort for the past three years

Stephan Schupbach, managing director at Park Hyatt Dubai, said optimism was returning to the market.

He added: “With the coordination, guidance and direction of DCTCM we have been gradually planning for the reopening with all relevant stakeholders in Dubai.

“The effortless and constant information sharing in a very fluid situation has been handled in a very constructive and supportive manner.”

Schupbach continued: “In the past weeks and months our hotels have been operating under different scenarios, as the products vary from convention to leisure beach and corporate properties.

“Recent times have given us the opportunity to revaluate any operating model in place and, at same time, work on sustainable, innovative and safe ideas for how we will behave and interact in the coming months.

“With our flagship carrier opening up travel, we are already seeing promising interest and confirmed bookings for regular and new clients from now into 2021.”

Park Hyatt Dubai is recognised as the World’s Leading Corporate Resort by World Travel Awards voters

Out on the Palm Jumeriah, excitement is also building about the return of the hospitality sector.

Christophe Schnyder, general manager at Sofitel Dubai the Palm Resort, said: “We are delighted that Dubai is reopening the city to tourists.

“This announcement is a turning point in the tourism sector’s road to recovery especially with our top markets being from Europe.

“At Sofitel Dubai the Palm, we have all the hygiene measures in place for the safety of our guests while they enjoy a relaxing holiday.

“Sofitel Dubai the Palm was the first Accor hotel in the United Arab Emirates to be awarded Bureau Veritas’ Safeguard label and with this prestigious Certification along with the ALLSAFE Cleanliness Label, guests staying at our beach resort can be assured of the highest hygiene standards.”

World Travel Awards voters honoured Sofitel Dubai the Palm Resort & Spa with the title of World’s Leading Luxury Hotel Apartments

Elsewhere on the iconic Palm Jumeirah, David Wilson, general manager of Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, said it was good to be back.

He added: “Our priority is to ensure both guests and staff feel protected at all times, and we have spent weeks sanitising every part of the hotel and training our team on the Hilton CleanStay guidelines in order to comply with global standards whilst creating a comfortable environment for our visitors.

“With a spectacular 200 metre private beach, expansive pool and garden area and 68 large suites perfect for family stays, we are offering the ideal place for guests to escape and enjoy their own private oasis while soaking up our world-class service.”

Armani Hotel Dubai is considered the World’s Leading Hotel by World Travel Awards

Finally, Thomas Peruzzo, general manager at the one-of-a-kind Armani Hotel Dubai, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming tourists back to Dubai and we have been working closely with the authorities in the ramp up to the reopening of the city to ensure we meet the needs of all travellers and can assure them a pleasant and safe stay. 

“The implementation and execution of safety measures led by the city to ensure safe travels in and out are truly meeting the promise the city has set to be not only one of the most beautiful in the world, but now also one of the safest cities to travel to across the globe. 

“With our remarkable location in the tallest tower in the world, Burj Khalifa, we have always been in the limelight and at Armani Hotel Dubai, we are committed to continue delivering Giorgio Armani’s hospitality of style whilst keeping the safety of our guests as our number one priority.”

More Information

With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the leading tourism destination in the world, Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing has a mission is to increase the awareness of the emirate among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment.

Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of the tourism sector.

Dubai is considered the World’s Leading MICE Destination by voters at the World Travel Awards, and the World’s Best Spa Destination by the World Spa Awards.

Find out more on the official website