Travel will 'normalise' more towards the end of year, says Dubai Tourism chief

Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing director general Helal Al Marri

Helal Al Marri, the director general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Travel will “normalise” in the autumn and winter, with tourists returning to Dubai in greater numbers, according to Helal Al Marri, the director general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

On Tuesday, July 7, Dubai reopened its doors to international visitors in the hopes of reviving its tourism industry after a closure that lasted almost four months.

In an interview with CNN, Al Marri said that he believes demand and consumer sentiment will quickly improve over the coming months.

“If we rewind six to eight weeks, everybody was in lockdown, and everybody was in a much more pessimistic situation,” he said. “Countries are opening up, albeit slowly, but I do expect a lot of countries to open up over the course of the summer. As we come into the fall and the winter, travel will normalise, albeit within this Covid situation.

“Once we look….to post-Covid, we’re expected to come back to normal,” he added. “There’s not a systematic issue with travel overall. People still really want to go on holiday. We can see that from the searches online and from the demand.”

To visit Dubai, incoming tourists are required to present a negative test result taken within 96 hours of the flight. If they fail to do so, they can take a test upon arrival, but must self-isolate until an all-clear is received from health authorities.

“That’s our way of safeguarding everyone coming into the city, and this ensures we don’t need to apply quarantine to those who test negative,” Al Marri added. “Of course, those who test positive can be taken part of, either [with] institutional stays as a hotel that’s been set up, or if they need hospitalisation.”

Dubai welcomed approximately 16.7 million visitors in 2019. Prior to the pandemic, it had the stated aim of reaching 20 million arrivals by 2020.

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