Dubai tourism and travel authorities are already preparing for an anticipated increase in tourist visits starting May. Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths, in an interview with Gulf News, expressed confidence that the tourism sector will make a steady recovery as COVID-19 vaccination programs remain in full swing all throughout the United Arab Emirates and nations worldwide.
UAE’s national COVID-19 vaccination program continues to progress at an accelerating pace. The government has vaccinated more than half of the eligible population since the commencement of the program in December 2020. Dubai currently offers three vaccine options: Sinopharm, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Oxford-AstraZeneca. In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, the emirate has set up more than 120 vaccination centers. It also offers home medical visits to vaccinate seniors and the elderly.
Arabian Travel Market 2021
This year’s Arabian Travel Market would indicate how many tourists airlines and hotels can expect in the coming months. The biggest travel and tourism expo in the Middle East, will be held from May 16-19. A series of trade shows is also scheduled for the rest of the year.
Restoration of Air Travel
Dubai is prepared for returning travelers once countries begin to loosen air travel restrictions. A lot would depend on how vaccination drives are going within each country. European nations still impose air travel restrictions. It may take a while before international travel from the region begins to rise again.
According to Griffiths, Dubai will aims to remain a top destination for tourists from around the world. “Dubai is in a unique position – geographically and economically and in terms of its impact on the world,” he said. “[And] there are plenty of people out there who would love to take the opportunity of the pandemic to steal our crown. We haven’t stopped being aware of that competitive position we find ourselves in.”
National carrier Etihad is expecting demand for flights to rebound by the second half of 2021. It notes a significant increase on ethnic routes, such as Pakistan and Bangladesh. Passenger numbers are projected to normalize by 2024. This is a full year later than a previous forecast.
2040 Urban Master Plan
In March, Dubai announced its 2040 Urban Master Plan“reinforcing Dubai’s competitiveness as a global destination.” The plan has laid out specific objectives geared towards providing lifestyle and investment opportunities. The results will benefit residents, citizens, and tourists for the next 20 years. Dubai aims to boost land area for hotels by 134% and increase public beaches by as much as 400%.
With the 2040 Urban Master Plan, the emirate seeks the full recovery of the travel and tourism industry post-pandemic. It will also serve as a guide to Dubai’s evolution into a mature city. The plan also involves improvements in the transport system and the addition of public parks.