Dubai sees 'green shoots' of revival in tourism industry

The emirate is currently among the top five destinations for internet searches or tourist considerations, according to DTCM

Government of Dubai Media Office – 10 August 2020: Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sectors are benefitting from a rapid rebound driven by a multi-phase roadmap being executed by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism). Prominent players in the industry have experienced a surge of interest from across the world since the reopening of the city to international tourists on 7 July. Courtesy Dubai Media Office
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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.

The emirate is currently among the top five destinations for internet searches or tourist considerations, according to Dubai Tourism.

The city has also seen a revival in domestic tourism demand since May, with hotels offering staycation deals, the statement said.

"The domestic market has proven extremely important and we are seeing increased demand at Jumeirah properties, particularly over the weekends," Mr Silva said.

With numbers in the initial reopening phase showing promise, Dubai aims to maximise opportunities once the tourism sector is fully reopened.

“We expect to see significant progress and are looking forward to galvanising growth as confidence builds further in the months ahead,” Issam Kazim, head of DTCM, said.