Dubai reopens tourism as economy recovers from coronavirus pandemic

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Dubai reopens tourism as its economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. It went through four months of closed borders and grounded flights.

While Dubai is known as the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, with its high-end hotels, enormous mall, and scenic landscapes, the city still faces low demand for air travel and its famous summer temperature.


However, Dubai Corporation for Tourism CEO Issam Kazim expressed his confidence about restarting tourism. He pointed out that Dubai invested in health and safety measures to serve people who are itching to travel.

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

Marketing campaigns

Facing the current climate remains a challenge, but Kazim appeared 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 said. “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.”

To achieve its objectives, Dubai Tourism introduced a series of marketing campaigns. One of these campaigns is called “We Will See You Soon” which promised to welcome visitors.

Meanwhile, the latest version, “Ready When You Are,” highlights Dubai’s most famous attractions and thrilling tourist activities.


“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 said.

Out of business

According to a survey by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, 74% of local travel and tourism businesses expected to go out of business by May.

Meanwhile, data from research firm STR Global showed that some 30% of jobs in Dubai’s hotels alone may be gone over the summer months until demand recovers.

Some hotels have shut down altogether, while major brands like Atlantis and Le Royal Meridien reported increase in earnings after announcing special discount packages to residents.

“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,” Kazim said.

Dubai’s tourism authorities will have to use more data before they can evaluate the success of reopening. Kazim and his team consider this a welcome opportunity for travelers after a full season in lockdown.

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

In terms of safety protocols, Dubai's hotels and malls will have a strict sanitization campaign. The establishments also plan to offer Covid-19 testing for tourists.