Dubai: Dubai is confident about delivering an Expo that “makes sense” in the post-COVID world, said Helal Al Marri, director general of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, during a virtual event on Wednesday.
The widely anticipated event was postponed to 2021 earlier in May after the COVID-19 outbreak called for stricter measures and brought international travel to a halt.
“First and foremost, nobody has a crystal ball, nobody knows exactly which date the WHO will announce that this pandemic is behind us and we can all get on with things,” said Al Marri. But, “all the indicators online show there’s latent demand for travel, and we are expected to have a spike (in travel) afterwards,” he added.
Tourism picks up
More international tourists have been coming to Dubai since the emirate was opened up in July.
While tourism was one of the first sectors to be “immediately and significantly” impacted by the pandemic, numbers have been “picking up” since July. “We do expect tourism to really come back to what it was, in a very fast manner, after this is over,” said Al Marri.
All the airlines and tourism entities have been working closely together to ensure smooth passage of travelers through Dubai airport, largest in the world in terms of passenger traffic.
Dubai Airport, Emirates airline, flydubai, Dubai Tourism and all other entities are in continuous dialogue with each other, said Al Marri. The “Dubai first” approach of all the companies, early planning and working very closely with the crisis committee enabled the emirate to open up the airport safely, with the all the protocols in place, he added.
“All of us … are looking forward to more source markets opening, as they come to grips with this pandemic get through the difficult part,” Al Marri said.
China, Saudi Arabia, India, UK and Germany constitute a large chunk of the tourists coming into the emirate. However, Dubai can no longer afford to prioritize just a few markets, says the tourism chief.
“We never want to find ourselves in a position where we’re over-reliant, and especially in today’s day and age and especially with this tentative opening up you know we have to really grab where we can get from,” he added.