Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum (right) with Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum at Dubai International airport Image Credit: Twitter

Dubai: The first batch of visitors received a warm welcome at Dubai International Airport on Tuesday, even as Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, specially toured the airport to inspect the safety measures that have been put in place.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Sheikh Hamdan said, “During a field trip, I inspected today the preparations at Dubai International Airport to receive tourists, and followed up the various precautionary measures and measures that are applied to ensure the health and safety of various travelers and to ensure the safety of our community.”

“Dubai has started to welcome visitors and tourists from today (July 7) while adhering to the highest standards of health and safety in line with international protocols,” tweeted Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and chairman and CEO of Emirates Airline and Group, on Tuesday.

He noted: “The combined efforts of the UAE’s leadership, government and tourism sector stakeholders as well as @DubaiAirports , @emirates and flydubai have resulted in the World Travel and Tourism Council @WTTC recognising Dubai as a safe destination, giving the city a Safe Travels stamp.”

Saif Mohammed Al Suwaidi, director general of General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), also made an inspection tour of Dubai Airports on Tuesday and checked the health measures and procedures at the airport and assured the highest levels of safety for passengers.

Welcome stickers

Dubai International

Passports of returning residents and tourists were not only marked with an entry date but were also stamped with a special sticker with a message: “Warm welcome to your second home”.

Dubai’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) took to social media to post videos of returning residents and visitors passing through immigration, marking the first day Dubai has re-opened to tourists after closing for three months since March 26 as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The first batch of tourists who arrived in Dubai on Tuesday Image Credit: Screengrab

Major General Mohammad Al Marri, Director-General of GDRFA-Dubai, told Gulf News: “Tourists are more than welcome in their second country. More passengers are coming to the country through Dubai Airports recently, especially residents who were outside the country.

“Dubai has overcome the challenges always due to the wise leadership. The city is a global tourist destination and we will work hard to make sure they will have a pleasant stay. We are prepared to welcome tourists and take strict precautionary measures in cooperation with our partners to ensure their safety,” he underlined.

Safe to travel

Prior to opening up to tourists on July 7, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has recognised Dubai as a safe destination and gave the city a Safe Travels stamp. The assurance validates the stringent hygiene and safety protocols that the city has put in place, according to a tweet by Dubai Media Office (DMO).

In an interview with CNN, Helal Al Marri, director general of Dubai Tourism, reiterated the city is following all health and safety protocols to safeguard both residents and tourists. He also noted the UAE is ranked among the top four in the world when it comes to mass testing.

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A guest checks into Citymax Hotel at Al Barsha in Dubai on Tuesday. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

“‘We’re following the WHO (World Health Organisation) advice – which is test, test, test – and Dubai is extensively applying this as the city welcomes back international tourists,” he explained.

Travel to more destinations

Dubai-based airlines have also resumed flights to more destinations in Europe and Asia.

Emirates has been operating in 51 destinations, including 18 cities in Europe, while flydubai now operates flights to 17 cities.

Dubai is now connected via Emirates to Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Frankfurt, Larnaca, London, Madrid, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Vienna, and Zurich as well as three cities in the African region and four in the USA, including Chicago, New York, Toronto, and Washington.

Emirates also has flights in major Asian cities, including Tokyo, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Meanwhile, Marhaba, dnata’s airport hospitality brand, has reopened two of its airport lounges at Dubai International’s (DXB) Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 (Concourse “B”) with enhanced safety measures.

The lounges are open to passengers of all travel classes, inviting them to relax or catch up with work in a safe and peaceful environment. Passengers can also upgrade their travel experience with home check-in and meet and greet services.

At the airport, multiple measures have also been put in place to ensure the health and safety of travellers, including the distribution of complimentary hygiene kits containing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and antibacterial wipes to passengers.

No age restriction

On its website, Emirates noted that there is no age restriction on travel. “Depending on your nationality you can get a visa on arrival, or you can apply for your visit visa from Dubai Immigration before you travel,” it noted.

The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, meanwhile, earlier announced that tourists will be required to meet safety standards upon entry, which include:

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Guests check into the Rove Dubai in Oud Metha on Tuesday. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

- Tourist must have travel insurance with COVID-19 cover or declare they will bear the costs for treatment and isolation if necessary before travelling.

- Tourist my carry an insurance certificate stating COVID-19 coverage to present at check-in.

- Tourists will need to download the COVID-19 DXB app and register their details on it.

- Tourists will need to fill out the health declaration form before embarking.

- Tourists must do a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test with a maximum validity of four days (96 hours) ahead of the date of departure. They will be required to show proof of not being infected with the virus upon arrival at Dubai airports. - If they cannot provide proof, they will undergo a PCR test at the airport.

- All arrivals will be subject to thermal screenings. They are also subject to additional tests if suspected to be COVID-19 positive.

- If they test positive to COVID-19, they will have to isolate themselves at an institutional facility provided by the government for 14 days at their own expense.

- International tourists possessing COVID-19 negative certification will be exempt from having to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.