The United Arab Emirates has this week begun accepting tourist visa applications from all countries, for visitors that have been fully vaccinated with a World Health Organisation (WHO) approved vaccine. Arriving passengers will also be required to take a rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, according to an Arabian Business report.
The move comes as Dubai readies to host the 2020 World Expo from October 1 to March 31, an event postponed from last year due to the pandemic. Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, organisers of the Expo said they were expecting 25 million visitors to visit the fair over its six-month run, that goal is now unlikely to be realised, though they maintain a “strong turnout” is expected.
Other Gulf nations have also begun re-opening borders and loosening travel restrictions, sparking hopes of increasing intra-region and soon, long haul travel. Oman has reopened its land borders with the UAE this week, and lifted restrictions on fully vaccinated travellers from 18 countries.
“The reopening of the borders ... is also a good sign for the Dubai hospitality market. Omanis have always been a very important source market for the city,” Bruno Trenchard, senior manager, Hotels and Hospitality, CBRE Middle East told Arabian Business.
“The Expo should be a good catalyst to increase visitors from Oman as it will have a variety of offerings, which I believe will be especially appealing to Omani families,” he added.
In Saudi Arabia meanwhile, vaccinated pilgrims are now also allowed to apply to enter the country after a year and a half of not receiving overseas worshippers. These pilgrims are a key revenue stream for the country, whose economy has been hit by a coronavirus-driven collapse in world demand for oil.
Chanel will take its 2022 cruise collection, first shown in the south of France, to Dubai on November 2. It’s a return to the United Arab Emirates for the brand, which presented its 2015 cruise collection there seven years ago.