Abu Dhabi will soon allow cruise ships to return to the city in a sign the United Arab Emirates' capital is moving closer to a post-pandemic normal.
Cruise liners will be able to return to Abu Dhabi on Sept. 1, the official Emirates News Agency reported on Tuesday.
Cruises are big business in the UAE, and 500,00 people arrived in the Gulf state’s ports in 2019 before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the agency. Emirati authorities suspended cruise operations last year due to virus concerns.
Noura Rashed Al Dhaheri, who leads the cruise department at Abu Dhabi Ports, said “vaccinated visitors” are being welcomed back aboard cruises, Emirates News Agency reported. Abu Dhabi is currently offering free coronavirus vaccines to tourists.
The resumptions of cruises is part of a wider resumption of normal tourism activities throughout the Middle East as countries make progress vaccinating their populations against the virus. The UAE’s largest city Dubai also allowed sporting events and concerts to resume in May and more than 50% of the UAE population as received at least one vaccine dose. Other countries in the region, like Yemen and Iran, remain fair behind, however.