Dubai: “Motivating people to not just visit but live and work”

India has emerged as the top source market for Dubai in the first half of 2021 with almost four lakh visitors from India out of over 20 lakh overnight visitors that visited the Emirate from January to May 2021. India is followed by Russia, France, the US and Egypt and as the top source markets. Even though travel between the two countries has been restricted for the last few days, India remains by far one of the biggest source markets to Dubai.

Commenting on the significance of Indian market, Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing says India is a top source market and tourism body in Dubai is keenly tracking the gradually stabilising Covid 19 situation and optimistic that business and leisure travellers from India will soon be making their visits back to Dubai.

One of the most popular destinations around the world, Dubai showcased impressive numbers in the first half 2021 despite tourism restrictions around the world. Kazim elaborates the Emirate’s market share in global tourism rose by 0.3 percent year on year.

“We were the only city to register a positive spike, when international tourism declined by 74%. This achievement was testament to Dubai’s undeniable determination to become one of the world’s safest and top priority destinations for international, leisure and business tourism,” he explains

Kazim says constantly advertising ‘Tourism Readiness’ and explaining the safety measures put in place by not just the city but various stakeholders such as hospitality, airlines and transport sectors and carrying out large scale vaccination helped boost visitor sentiment and aided in Dubai’s standing as a safe destination. Through strategic measures and several key initiatives such as National Disinfection Program, drive-through test centers, surveillance, and contact tracing, Kazim says, Dubai is working constantly to ensure the highest levels of protection and prevention to combat Covid19 spread. “Further to this, a large percentage of interactions in Dubai are now ‘touchless’, such as hotel check-ins, restaurant’s displaying the menus as QR codes, or the check-in for flights at the airport, in order to reduce the risk of infection,” he says.

Another way to showcase destination’s preparations, Kazim explains, was to host all the calendar events safely despite the pandemic. Events have become a big focus for the city and Kazim says Dubai is pitching itself as the events capital of the world in a post Covid 19 world.

Apart from planning and executing mega events such as Expo 2020 Dubai, Kazim says the city has also started focusing on presenting Dubai as a long term stay option rather than a mere short stay destination. “As a city that caters to the wide-ranging interests of global travellers, we are motivating people to not just visit but live and work in or from Dubai,” he explains.

Kazim says almost 18,000 people sought complimentary tourism visa extension while the city also received 3,000 applications from people looking to avail Virtual Working Program. Dubai has also started a ‘Retire in Dubai’ programme for those above 55 years of age which is seeing a good response. “Taking advantage of the quality of life here, as well as the safety and security offered, many are now choosing Dubai as a more permanent base for themselves by opting to choose to live and work remotely from here,” he elaborates.

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