UAE bucks the tourism downturn amid virus - GulfToday

UAE bucks the tourism downturn amid virus


The photo has been used for illustrative purposes.

The UAE move to shore up global efforts to promote tourism and travel amid the coronavirus pandemic is commendable.The nation reinforced its commitment to support during its participation in a virtual G20 Tourism Ministers Meeting.

The UAE is one of the first countries in the region to launch incentives and facilities to support the sector, highlighting the country’s ability to adapt quickly thanks to an advanced technological and digital infrastructure.

The UAE is continuing its efforts to develop initiatives that drive tourism innovation and enable the contribution of start-ups and innovation centres in finding quality solutions to overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic.

However, at the height of the global COVID-19 crisis, the mood was circumspect. The international tourism industry bore the brunt of worldwide restrictions in domestic and cross-border mobility. According to the World Tourism Organisation, UNWTO, the COVID-19 pandemic could cost global tourism and related sectors between US$1.2 and US$3.3 trillion in lost revenue depending on the timing of recovery.

African countries have lost almost $55 billion in travel and tourism revenues in just three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism and travel represented almost 10% of the gross domestic product of Africa.

It has impacted the lives of 24 million African families whose existence is linked to travel and tourism. African airlines have seen a 95% drop in revenues, or about $8 billion, along with other losses such as the deterioration of assets.

Even Europe has been badly hit. Much-needed revenues from foreign tourists collapsed in Spain this year as the coronavirus pandemic pushed many holiday makers to stay at home, further weighing down the euro zone’s fourth largest economy.

Usually the world’s second-most visited country after France, Spain had over the past years received some 80 million foreign tourists a year, with much of the revenues over the summer. However, between January and August, just 15.7 million visited, around 73 per cent fewer than in the same period of 2019, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said.

Over £22bn is set to be wiped from the UK’s domestic tourism industry due to the pandemic and stringent restrictions on public life, an earlier report says.

That is quite alarming.

Against this gloomy backdrop, Dubai’s tourism and hospitality sectors are benefiting from a rapid rebound driven by a multi-phase roadmap being executed by the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Dubai Tourism. Bookings being received by Emirates and flydubai airlines, for instance, are also showing positive signs for the tourism sector.

There aren’t many nations that would welcome visitors with open arms, but the UAE is a different story altogether.

The nation has registered a low infection rate because it is taking stiff precautionary measures to combat the virus. Wearing face masks when going outside is mandatory, so that helps.

The UAE has a host of attractions, such as wonderful beaches, high-end resorts and fabulous theme parks which simply are hard to resist. In the early stages of the coronavirus attack, it imposed a lockdown but it was not for long.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the country, has set an exemplary model. It has been recognised and highly lauded for its swift, efficient, persistent and rapid response to managing and containing the spread of COVID-19 through a series of initiatives developed by local government and the relevant authorities, including DCT Abu Dhabi. The implementation of tough measures and guidelines for a safe and secure health helped boost tourists’ confidence in this remarkable destination, while simultaneously revitalising the tourism sector.

Through innovation and commitment, the UAE has succeeded in setting a shining example in crisis management with its globally acclaimed COVID-19 response.

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