ATM HELAL
Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director, Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation and Scott Livermore, Chief Economist of Oxford Economics, Middle East, speaking at the opening session "Tourism For a Brighter Future" at Arabian Travel Market 2021. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is seeing a month-on-month improvement in tourist numbers amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, according to Helal Al Marri, Director General of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).

"We have seen improvement month on month, we are expecting further easing of restrictions," said Al Marri, during the Arabian Travel Market event.

Although Dubai’s vaccination programme is proceeding swiftly, the actual number of tourists coming to the emirate will be based on the number of countries open, said Al Marri.

"Countries need to start accepting that COVID-19 exists and that they are gonna live with it," said Al Marri. "Dubai has shown a great deal of resilience over the last year"

The upcoming Expo event "couldn't come at a better time" for Dubai, he added. "We have already seen a great deal of interest from across the world"

When will recovery come?

Scott Livermore, Chief Economist at Oxford Economics Middle East, said oil prices, recovery in key sectors and government policies will support economic growth in the Middle East in the long term. "Travel and Tourism is critical"

"Events like this clearly demonstrate that the worst is over, there's reasons to be optimistic," said Livermore.

The economist said that while domestic will return to pre-crisis levels by 2022, long-haul will take longer.

Savings generated by consumers during the pandemic period "will benefit travel and tourism," he added.