Dubai is seeing "green shoots" of revival in its tourism and hospitality industry after the emirate opened its doors to international visitors last month, the government said on Monday.
Major players in the industry are seeing a surge of interest from international tourists after the Middle East travel hub allowed holiday-makers to resume flying into the city on July 7, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said.
"We have been greatly encouraged by the market’s response in the current second phase of our recovery strategy, which was activated along with the gradual resumption of economic sectors, as well as the staggered and tentative restart of travel across the world,” Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai Tourism, said.
The emirate allowed the return of international visitors more than three months after the UAE’s airspace was closed as a precautionary measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Dubai, the Middle East’s tourism and financial hub, attracted 16.73 million travellers last year to its beaches, luxury hotels and shopping malls. Tourism is a major source of revenue for the emirates, contributing 11.5 per cent to its' gross domestic product.
Dubai-based hospitality chain Jumeirah hotels said its online bookings doubled in the week after the re-opening to tourists compared to the previous week. Its properties registered an average daily increase of 109 per cent in booked room nights.
"We have received considerable interest from international markets, particularly Europe and Russia,” Jose Silva, chief executive of Jumeirah, said.
Dubai-based Emirates plans to serve 70 destinations worldwide in August, while Flydubai is set to expand its network to 66 destinations over the summer.
"People are much more optimistic and well informed now and are ready to go on holidays to destinations that are safe and have put in place strong health and safety protocols,” Mr Al Almarri said.