After four months of strict border restrictions imposed to stem the spread of the deadly novel Coronavirus, the emirate of Dubai is to allow foreign tourists to return beginning July 7. Announcing the decision, the Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management said tourists would be required to “stringently comply with preventive measures and safety procedures” including mandatory COVID-19 testing.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been off limits to tourists since March 25 after officials closed its borders and banned nearly all passenger flights. Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways were then given permission to operate special repatriation flights, before transit passengers were eventually allowed to start passing through the UAE’s airports last month.
Emirates is currently operating flights to just 40 destinations worldwide but this number is expected to dramatically increase in the coming weeks following the easing of travel restrictions.
As well as downloading a contact tracing app and completing a health declaration, tourists hoping to visit Dubai will need to have had a COVID-19 test within 4 days of travelling. If they cannot get a test in their home country then tourists can be tested on arrival. It was not immediately clear whether this service would be at cost and if tourists would need to go into quarantine while they awaited the results.
“All arrivals will be subject to thermal screenings. If a traveler is suspected to have COVID-19 symptoms, Dubai airports have the right to re-test to ensure the tourist is free of the virus,” a spokesperson explained. “It is mandatory for tourists who test positive for COVID-19 to register their details on the COVID-19 DXB app and isolate themselves at an institutional facility provided by the government for 14 days at their own expense.”
Health insurance will also be a must and will be checked by officials. Tourists who travel without health insurance are likely to be turned away at the border.
Dubai will also allow foreign residents to return to the emirate from Monday, while it’s citizens will finally be allowed to travel abroad beginning Tuesday.
According to the UAE government, travel and tourism account for over 12 per cent of the country’s annual GDP. In the last few weeks, most Coronavirus restrictions in Dubai have been eased or lifted altogether. Malls are now operating at full capacity and hotels and resorts have introduced new safety measures to allow their safe reopening.
Travelling with Emirates will still be a little different than before the Corina crisis. Cabin crew must wear face masks, goggles and disposable smocks, while magazines and Duty Free have been stripped from aircraft.
Passengers will also need to wear a face mask onboard and throughout their stay in Dubai.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.