In a year when international travel has been largely halted, Emirates is gearing up for a busy week.
The Dubai airline is expecting a rise in traveller numbers as the UAE celebrates its 49th National Day on Wednesday, December 2. Both the public and private sector have a five-day holiday for the occasion.
Flights are set to be busy in the middle of this week, and for the next two weeks, said an Emirates representative.
Dubai Airports echoed this message. "Dubai Airports is ready to safely welcome the anticipated increase in passenger numbers at Dubai International Airport (DXB) during the ongoing holiday season over the coming weeks," said a representative.
Precautionary measures have been implemented at DXB to help keep travellers safe.
"These measures include hand sanitiser stations around the airport, protective plexiglass at check-in and immigration counters, thermal and temperature screening, social-distancing markers and increased levels of cleaning and sanitisation," the Dubai Airports representative added.
Emirates is currently operating to a number of destinations across Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and North America.
The most popular destinations over the National Day week and in December include the Maldives, Cairo, London, Casablanca and Cape Town, the airline revealed.
Are these destinations open for tourists?
The Maldives has been open to travellers since July 15. Travellers from all countries are welcome but must present a negative PCR test result on arrival. All travellers to the Maldives must also complete a Traveller Health Declaration form 24 hours before departure. Temperature checks and screening procedures are being carried out at Velana International Airport in Male.
Egypt is also open for travel, and has been since July 1. Tourists must present a negative PCR test certificate on arrival and complete a monitoring card. All travellers will also have to show confirmation of valid health insurance. Tourists travelling to coastal regions of the Red Sea, South Sinai and Marsa Matruh can undergo testing on arrival but will be required to self-isolate until negative test results are received.
The UK's lifting of its 14-day quarantine period for travellers arriving from the UAE has led to a spike in the number of travellers jetting to London. Many Britons living in the UAE said they planned to travel home for the festive period now that they would no longer have to self-isolate.
Morocco has opened for tourism for travellers from visa-exempt countries who have an invitation or a confirmed hotel reservation. This includes travellers from the UAE. All arriving visitors must show a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of entry to the kingdom.
Emirates is the only UAE airline operating direct flights to South Africa after Etihad closed down its Johannesburg office. The airline said Cape Town is one of its most popular routes this month.
South Africa recently announced it was open for tourism, and Emirates flies four times per week to the Mother City. December is typically one of the busiest months for tourism in South Africa, thanks to the onset of both the festive period and the beginning of summer.
Celebrating UAE National Day at 40,000 feet
Travellers flying Emirates can get on board with the National Day spirit. Emirates is introducing new Emirati music, shows, podcasts and films on its in-flight entertainment systems from Wednesday, December 2.
Passengers will also be able to get a taste of local culture at 40,000 feet, as the airline will serve locally sourced sweets, dates and Arabic coffee to travellers, such as treats from Dubai chocolate maker Mirzam.
Travel tips for flying over National Day
Travellers must wear a face mask at the airport and on every Emirates flight. The airline provides passengers with a hygiene kit containing a mask, but the airline's website reminds travellers to bring a mask with them.
With requirements for flying changing frequently because of the global pandemic, travellers flying over National Day and in December should check Covid-19 test requirements and health documents needed for their destination regularly.
Dubai Airports shared the following tips for travellers with upcoming travel:
- Always check with the airline for information on travel requirements specific to each journey
- Confirm the terminal the flight is arriving at / departing from before coming to the airport
- Make sure you are aware of and meet the travel requirements of the country you are travelling to (including whether a negative PCR test is needed before starting a journey)
- Arrive at the airport no earlier than four hours before the scheduled departure time for your flight
- Ensure you wear a protective face mask and maintain physical distancing
- Abstain from travelling and seek medical advice if you experience any Covid-19 symptoms