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What’s up in UAE? Tourism recovery, high vaccination rates and hotel occupancy rates on the rise

COVID-19 pandemic has seemingly irreversibly altered the landscape of travel industry with countries and destinations continuing to grapple with the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But as the world continues its struggle against the pandemic, there have been attempts to restore normalcy by governments and industries looking to reemerge from the debilitating crisis. As it stands, the travel industry is experiencing a gradual recovery (albeit in stages) and many are hoping that the arrival of summer 2021 will offer a strong boost.

Wego.com talks about tourism recovery, high vaccination rates and hotel occupancy rates on the rise in the UAE.

Tourism recovery in the UAE

In the case of the UAE, there have been encouraging signs that suggest travel is indeed recovering as reflected in the rising rates of hotel occupancy and the general optimism regarding travel as a whole. Let’s take a closer look at the telltale signs of travel recovery in the country.

Emiratis are eager to travel

A survey commissioned by Arabian Travel Market (ATM) organizer last year showed that UAE travellers are among the most eager to travel abroad in 2021. And now that countries are reopening for vaccinated travellers in time for the summer season, the familiar sport of hunting for cheap flight tickets is expected to begin from late May or early June. 

Hotel occupancy rates are on the rise

According to a report published by hospitality data and analytics specialist STR, the occupancy rate of hotels in the UAE have risen to 62 percent in March; an increase from the previous 59.5 percent occupancy rate in February.

In Dubai, the tourism authorities have issued the Dubai Assured Stamp to signify each and every establishment’s compliance with the rigid health and safety guidelines issued by Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management. Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi’s plan to scrap quarantine measures for vaccinated travellers in July will likely deliver another boost to the hospitality industry.

The economy is thriving

Despite global challenges brought about by the pandemic, the UAE’s economy remains on track towards recovery in 2021. Specifically, the country’s e-commerce market is projected to yield USD 7,456 million in revenue for 2021.

The figure comes as no surprise as the UAE currently leads the MENA region in terms of online shopping at USD 2,554 per household. This is double the value of the global average of USD 1,156 and roughly four times the value of the average in the MENA region of USD 629. As local e-commerce companies and marketplaces continue to capitalise on the post-pandemic shopping boom by offering customers discounts, cashback, and vouchers, the nation’s economy seems poised to continue its rise.

What’s behind UAE’s success?

So, what’s powering UAE’s success and overall optimism in the country?

High vaccination rates

As of late May 2021, the UAE has the world’s highest Covid vaccination rate with over 12.1 million doses being administered so far. The high vaccination rates inevitably play a role in the recovery of UAE’s tourism sector ahead of others.

Strict safety measures

At the onset of the pandemic, the UAE promptly adopted a blended civil-military approach which proved effective in containing the spread of the virus. As the country started to reopen, the government applied strict safety measures as prerequisites for businesses, attractions, and establishments to resume operations. Additionally, information on restrictions and quarantine is easily accessible in the country.

Reasonable testing and quarantine measures

The UAE has found a sweet spot between allowing tourism to resume and safeguarding public health. In the case of Dubai, quarantine is reserved only for those testing positive upon arrival and those who have come into contact with COVID-19 patients. 

Economic aid to minimize the impact of COVID-19

Through the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), the government keeps the economy afloat by launching an AED 100 billion comprehensive Economic Support Scheme for retail and corporate customers affected by COVID-19. Both Abu Dhabi and Dubai governments have provided billions of dirhams to support the national economy, ensure business continuity, and mitigate the coronavirus impact.

The UAE has managed to implement some of the most robust pandemic responses the world has ever seen. While the country does struggle with episodic flare-ups, it is outweighed by the fact that the UAE’s vaccination drive is among the best in the world.

This, in turn, has led to a steady influx of domestic and international travellers looking to experience what Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ras al Khaimah, and other emirates have to offer. The UAE has managed to do this because many rightly regard the country as a stellar example of how to handle a global pandemic.

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