The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) began receiving tourists today for the first time since it shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country is attempting to return to normal life and resume economic activity after lifting its virus-related curfew last month.
In a tweet posted by the Government of Dubai Media Office today on the resumption of tourism, the CEO of Dubai’s Department of Tourism, Issam Kazim, told the international community, “We're ready when you are."
The decision follows the implementation of health guidelines at Dubai International Airport. Dubai Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Rashid al-Maktoum visited the airport today to inspect the preparations for receiving tourists. A video of his visit shows employees wearing face masks, gloves and full-body coverings to protect from the coronavirus.
This month, the UAE also instituted a measure requiring people entering the country to test negative for COVID-19. Dubai can now receive tourists who do not have the virus, but the process of entering the country varies across the different emirates, including for permanent residents.
The UAE closed its airports to commercial traffic and instituted a series of lockdowns in March to stop the spread of the virus. Repatriation flights for foreigners in the country and Emirati citizens abroad continued, however. Dubai had one of the strictest lockdowns in the region, with police permission required to leave the house at one point.
In May, the Dubai-based airline Emirates resumed international connection flights via Dubai, as well as passenger flights out of the country. Emirati airlines have continually added destinations since then in a bid to rebuild their flight networks. The downturn in global travel hurt both Emirates and the Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways, with both cutting jobs.
Both tourists and residents entered Dubai today, according to Gulf News.
As the Emirates attempts to return to normal following months on lockdown, Abu Dhabi announced yesterday it would host the “Fight Island” international mixed martial arts event this month.
The country is still registering several hundred COVID-19 cased per day, according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention statistics.