How Dubai airport handles tourists and passengers after COVID-19

Dubai has set an example by opening up its borders for the tourists, tourism activities are already opened with some safty measures, more and more tourists are visiting Dubai and arriving at the Dubai airports. Here are some pictures of how the passengers are being handled with proper safty measures in place for both the staff and passengers at the Dubai airport.

Arriving passengers waiting for passport controll

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 12, 2020 at 7:01 am

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Hotel Sofitel Dubai Wafi to open in September

ofitel Dubai Wafi will open its doors in September this year.

Located in Dubai’s Oud Metha, the five-star property was initially slated to open in late 2019.

Once open, there will be 498 rooms and 97 serviced apartments. It will have the Sofitel SPA with L’OCCITANE, a comprehensive gymnasium, an outdoor pool, private cabanas and a kids club. Business travellers will have access to 10 meeting rooms in addition to a 1,115 square metre ballroom.

Inside there will be a handful of culinary hotspots. Brassiere Boulud has been designed by famed chef Daniel Boulud, known for his double Michelin-starred restaurant in New York. There will also be Taiko – sister restaurant to the award-winning venue in Amsterdamby Chef Schilo Van Coevorden. The Nine will serve British gastropub classics while Bijou Patisserie will serve baked goods.

The property features a striking exterior – an obelisk shape harking to the hotel’s French and Egyptian inspiration. Sofitel Dubai Wafi will be connected to Wafi Mall and sit next door to Raffles Dubai. The properties will share some facilities on a cluster level.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 3, 2020 at 9:51 pm

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COVID-19: Live entertainment permitted within Dubai hotels

Dubai Tourism has issued a circular to hospitality venues, seen by What’s On, outlining that entertainment is once again permitted in Dubai hotels. Entertainment can be held in any indoor or outdoor restaurant, as well as at pools and common areas within hotels.

At the moment, nightclubs, bars and dance floors are excluded from this new rule. Group bands are also not allowed, all entertainers must be solo performers including musicians, DJs, and stage show artists.

The entertainers must wear a mask at all times, and must stay on the stage throughout their performance, without coming close to interact with the audience. The guidelines state that customers are not permitted to sit at the bar on stools.

Crowds are not allowed in any area, for spectating or dancing etc. and physical distancing must be followed at all times. As per the overall guidelines, staff and customers should be screened on entry and all surfaces should be regularly disinfected.

The circular made it clear that a clubbing ambiance is not allowed, this means crowding, dancing, flashes etc are not permitted. Guests should not queue outside a venue, nor should there be a waiting area inside.

If you need to pop outside the venue, you will be re-screened on your way back in. All customer-facing staff, kitchen staff and cleaners are required to wear a mask and gloves at all times.

While this sounds like a lot of strict rules, it’s another step in the direction of opening back up the city, and providing work opportunities for Dubai’s entertainers.

Please note that venues are required to apply for a permit for every performer that they hire, so it could be a few days before you start to see your favourite acts back on stage.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 9:48 pm

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Dubai to allow tourists from 7th July with some limitations

Dubai is allowing tourists from July 7th, local residents from across the UAE are already enjoying the diverse attractions and experiences that have reopened in Dubai following a temporary closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Top family attractions have been including public and hotel beaches, shopping malls, restaurants, swimming pools and golf courses, as well as the resumption of popular activities like water sports and camping.

In addition to the standard requirements of social distancing and wearing a face mask at all times, the family entertainment destinations, from those providing indoor excitement to outdoor adventures, have also deployed a wide range of other precautionary and preventive measures to safeguard the health of visitors across all customer facing touch-points in their respective facilities and surrounding environments. The attractions have advised visitors to book or buy their tickets online to facilitate contactless entry.

The attractions that have reopened include the following:

Malls in Dubai

All malls in Dubai are open and operating at 100 per capacity. Within the malls, you will also have access to most restaurants and stores, but there are plenty of rules visitors have to follow, including wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and limiting the amount of people inside of the stores.

Tourists can visit malls in Dubai and enjoy some entertainment facilities including movie theatres and light and sound shows, like the Dubai Festival City promenade light show or the Dubai Mall Fountain show, for example. Arcades and children’s play areas remain closed as of now.

Cinemas in Dubai post Covid-19

Tourists will be happy to hear that they will be able to go to the cinema in Dubai and the cinemas in Dubai are not Cinemas have re-opened across Dubai after months of restrictions in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Now it might seem a bit strange to suggest going to the movies, but actually, the new restrictions set there, make it a very safe place to be. Guidelines include selling tickets only up to a 30 per cent capacity. Temperature checks are required prior to entry, as is wearing a face mask at all times. Tickets should ideally be bought online, while social distancing of 2 metres is necessary inside the theatre. The cinema halls are making sure that seats directly adjacent and in rows above and below are being left vacant. A maximum of four people are allowed to sit together. Otherwise, just go to the Drive-in theatre. It is more expensive, but you have the option of being in your car without touching any outside surfaces.

Restaurants in Dubai

Many restaurants in the city are open, yet maintaining social distancing measures. Whether you opt for high end options like Zuma, LPM Restaurant and Bar, casual eateries like Taikun Dubai, Shake Shack and or cafes like Boston Lane, Depresso or Around the Block, just to name a few.

Make sure you call ahead and book a table to avoid disappointment, as some restaurants can only seat you with a reservation, while others are still closed.

Hotels in Dubai after Covid-19

Many hotels in the city are open and offering incredible hotel summer deals. Make sure you take advantage of these deals, as some five star properties are priced at under Dh500 a night. Choose from the Palazzo Versace Dubai in Al Jaddaf, what this hotel lacks in a beach, it more than makes up for with its beautiful pools and interior design. Otherwise, go for a beach front property like the Waldorf Astoria Palm Jumeirah or the Jumeirah Al Naseem.
Burj Khalifa, Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and The Burj Club
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Aman Chhabra’s picture is from the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo. Image Credit: Aman Chhabra

Emaar Entertainment is welcoming guests to three of its most prominent destinations: At the Top – Burj Khalifa, Dubai Aquarium and The Burj Club following the reopening of these attractions under mandatory precautionary measures to help safeguard visitors and staff. From now until July 31, if you go to see movie at Reel Cinemas, you will be entitled to 50 per cent off at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and At the Top – Burj Khalifa Levels 124 and 125.
Atlantis Aquaventure
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Dubai’s sun-lovers and adventure-seekers can get ready for some extreme sliding and gravity-defying tubing at this popular waterpark at Atlantis – The Palm, from Dh99 for children and Dh119 for adults. From Thursday to Sunday, guests can once again enjoy all of the water-based experiences the ocean-themed resort has to offer with amazing discounts of up to 50 per cent off with access to the experiences at Dolphin Bay, Sea Lion Point and The Lost Chambers Aquarium, as well as snorkeling and diving at The Ambassador Lagoon.

Guests staying at the resort from Thursday-Sunday will receive daily unlimited complimentary access to the park as part of their weekend room price, from Dh649. Based on government guidelines Atlantis Aquaventure will be operating at a 50 per cent reduced capacity, and all guests who are not staying in the hotel must purchase tickets in advance of their arrival, as tickets will not be available to buy at the gate. In addition, individually wrapped towels will be provided and changing rooms and lockers will be limited.
Ski Dubai, Dreamscape and Magic Planet
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The iconic Ski Dubai, the world’s largest indoor ski slope, along with entertainment destinations Dreamscape and Magic Planet, all under UAE’s retail conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim (MAF), have reopened with a set of health and safety guidelines that visitors must strictly follow. At MAF’s leisure and entertainment locations, surfaces will be cleaned and sanitised after every guest interaction while it is mandatory for employees to wear masks and gloves.
Dubai Dolphinarium
191127 dubai dolphinarium

Dubai Dolphinarium, the indoor entertainment destination at Creek Park that offers its visitors the opportunity to watch dolphins and seals running, playing ball, and jumping through the hoops, is running a promotion featuring discounted ticket prices. Entry for adults is Dh70 dirhams, and for children it’s Dh40. Dubai Dolphinarium is the first fully air-conditioned indoor dolphinarium in the Middle East, providing habitat to dolphins and seals and allowing the public to watch and interact with them through live shows and photo sessions.
The Green Planet
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A pair of Hyacinth Macaw, among many free flying birds, animals and insects at The Green Planet. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

While you can explore and interact with a whole new world of exotic flora and fauna at The Green Planet, this fully immersive indoor vertical rain-forest at City Walk is now offering a free breakfast or lunch with every entry ticket at its rainforest-themed Green Planet Café. Open from Monday to Thursday from 10am until 6pm, visitors can choose from a range of breakfast and lunch options.You can also avail of a 20 per cent discount for certain experiences. As part of the health and safety regime adopted at The Green Planet, cleaning and disinfection are conducted before the facility opens and at an hourly interval.

Dubai museums

Heritage and culture enthusiasts can now make a beeline to the various Dubai museums operated by Dubai Culture and Arts Authority that have started reopening gradually since the beginning of this month. The first museums to open their doors were Al Shindagha Museum, followed by Etihad Museum on Jumeirah beach road. If you’re more into the modern art, check out the Jameel Arts Centre

Preventive measures have been deployed to ensure the wellbeing of visitors and museum employees, who will have to wear face masks and have their temperatures checked before they enter the premises. They will need to abide by social distancing rules and the museum will also have sterilisation routines. Each museum will welcome only 50 per cent of its visitor capacity for safety reasons while group visits will be restricted to five people each and no events or celebrations will be allowed to take place.

In opening their doors once again the various attractions have made the health and safety of their visitors the top priority by adopting a range of precautionary measures, while providing the kind of unique experiences that have helped make Dubai the fourth most visited city in the world, according to the annual MasterCard’s Global Destination Cities Index. Dubai has now set its sights on further enhancing its position as the destination of choice for international travellers in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make it the #1 most visited, preferred and revisited global city.

Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), said: “As Dubai has reopened, we will reinforce our commitment to not only provide residents and visitors a well-rounded destination experience but also ensure their health and safety remains our key priority. With the initial focus being on reviving demand for domestic tourism, Dubai’s travel and hospitality sectors are now eagerly waiting to welcome visitors from the wider international market, starting from 7 July. Dubai Tourism is also continuing to work closely with the city’s network of stakeholders across the public and private sectors, and its partners overseas to provide people from around the world the opportunity to enjoy the wide diversity of offerings in one of the world’s safest destinations.”

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - June 30, 2020 at 3:44 am

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Dubai Tourism assures hospitality sector is ‘healthy’

Dubai Tourism & Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism DTCM) has refuted reports that up to 30% of the UAE’s hospitality workforce will lose their jobs, adding that the emirate’s hospitality sector is healthy. According to sister publication Arabian Business, Dubai Tourism made the assurance in response to a recent report from Bloomberg.

Citing statistics from STR Global, Bloomberg reported that 43,000 hotel rooms – approximately a third of the emirate’s total keys – will remain closed until September. In an interview with Bloomberg, STR MEA director Phillip Wooller said he believes up to 40,000 or 30% of those in the industry will become jobless.

In response, a Dubai Tourism spokesperson has said: “Contrary to Bloomberg’s assertion, Dubai’s hospitality businesses are resuming operations based on issued government reopening guidelines during this pandemic,”

“Dubai’s hotel sector is healthy and this prudent approach prepares the industry for an even stronger resurgence post-Covid,” the spokesperson added.

This is the second time this week that Dubai has refuted a report from Bloomberg, earlier this week state-owned Emirates Airline denied claims it plans to cut 30,000 people from its workforce.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 26, 2020 at 4:00 am

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Eid Ul Fitr 2020 to be celebrated on Sunday 24th May

Abu Dhabi: For the year 2020CE and 1441AH the Eid will be celebrates on Sunday, the 24th of May as per direction of the moon-sighting committee in UAE

The announcement was made after the moonsighting committee held a virtual meeting under the chairmanship of the Minister of Justice along with a number of senior officials, after Maghrib prayer on Friday 22nd May.

Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi Al Dhaheri, Minister of Justice, and Chairman of the Committee, said “After exhausting the sharia methods of sighting the crescent and making the necessary contacts with neighboring countries, could not find any witnesses sighting the Shawal month crescent moon on Friday evening” thus it is declared that tomorrow, Saturday, the 23rd of May, is the last day of Ramadan 1441, and that Sunday, the 24th of May, is the first day of Eid Al Fitr.

This year all belivers are asked to pray at home as per the following timings of Eid prayers in UAE

Abu Dhabi: 05.52am
Al Ain: 05.46am
Dubai: 05.47am
Sharjah: 05.44am
Ras Al Khaimah: 05.43am
Fujairah: 05.43am
Umm Al Quwain: 05.44am
Ajman: 05.46am

UAE Fatwa on Eid prayers

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Shamsi, spokesperson of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, said: “As per the Emirates Fatwa Council, Eid Al Fitr prayers should be performed at home. Taking all precautionary measures to protect yourself and your family is a religious and national commitment.”

How to perform Eid prayers at home

Eid prayer is performed the same way as it is offered in the mosques but there will be no Khutba (sermon), which is delivered by an Imam in the mosque. It is as simple as offering any other regular daily prayers.

Eid prayer has two rak’ahs but it has extra ‘takbeers’ (takbeer is an Arabic word referring to when “Allah-u- Akbar” is said to start the prayer and the hands are raised to the ears).

In any normal prayer, you say only one ‘takbeer’ but for Eid prayer, you say ‘takbeer’ for 12 times in two rak’ahs, according to the procedure followed in the UAE.

You must say seven takbeers in the first rak’ah and then start reciting the Quran as you do in normal prayers.

You must say extra five takbeers in the beginning of second rak’ah and then complete your prayer as normal.

Eid Mubarak 2020

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 23, 2020 at 6:15 am

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Dubai’s historic gold souk shines again after lockdown

Evening dresses made of gold mesh, gilded sunglasses and glittering crowns are sparkling again from the windows of Dubai’s historic gold souk which was shuttered during the coronavirus lockdown.

One important element is still missing though — customers.

But for business owners, the reopening of one of the world’s biggest gold markets is a vital move towards normality ahead of the autumn tourist season, in a city that prides itself on shop-’til-you-drop experiences.

“Reopening the shops is a big step for us… The main factor here is psychological,” said Tawhid Abdullah, chairman of the Dubai Gold and Jewellery Group.

“We expect that by July or August when the airports reopen… we will regain 50 percent of our business activity,” he told a section of the media.

Dubai welcomed more than 16 million tourists last year, and was aiming for 20 million this year before the pandemic crippled global travel.

Unwanted holiday

Cloistered in the old trading centre, not far from its famous skyscrapers, the gold souk closed on March 24 and reopened under strict social distancing and hygiene rules on April 26.

The area where the market is located is known as Old Dubai, with decades-old buildings and haphazard alleyways thronged by Asian and African migrants who make up a majority of the area’s residents.

Videos of residents celebrating the end of the curfew, pouring onto the streets to clap and cheer, went viral on social media last month.

“When we came here the first day it was as if we were coming to a new place, so we sterilised everything. We were very very happy to be back,” said jeweller Chandu Siroya.

“Everybody wants to be on holiday, but this time it was the other way around. The holiday was too long so we were longing to be back,” he added, surrounded by a dozen employees wearing protective masks.

‘An iconic place’

Occupying a warren of streets and covered with traditional barasti roofing made of date palm fronds, the century-old market neighbours Dubai’s other traditional souks selling spices and carpets.

“This is an iconic place, the heart of our city of gold, and it’s important to see it open,” said Abdullah.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - May 16, 2020 at 7:28 pm

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Dubai College of Tourism launches online tour guide programme

Dubai College of Tourism (DCT), an institution established by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), has announced the launch of its new online tour guide training programme, which is designed for individuals looking to become professional certified tour guides.

Upon passing the programme, applicants will receive a two-year license and will be able to apply to become professional guides for tour operators or start their own tour company.

Designed to make the process of getting a tour guide license as convenient as possible, the programme will teach prospective candidates how to present Dubai and its culture to international visitors, in addition to the skills they need to excel in this position. The course, training and testing is currently available in English, with a Mandarin version being developed and to be launched soon. To enroll for the programme, one has to meet certain requirements, which are listed in the online training platform.

Commenting on the programme, Essa Bin Hadher, general manager of Dubai College of Tourism, said: “One of our main goals is to ensure that anyone who visits Dubai has an unforgettable experience and is able to create memories that last a lifetime. Tour guides across the city are critical players in ensuring we achieve this, and by launching our easy-to-access programme we are also laying the groundwork for many more talented Emiratis and expatriate residents to join the city’s tourist-facing workforce. With online and distance learning assuming more significance due to the current situation, we have sought to simplify the process of obtaining a Dubai tour guide license through this programme. Interested candidates can follow the course from anywhere and learn the best way to represent Dubai as a professional tour guide.”

Once candidates have fulfilled the preliminary requirements, they need to complete three stages within a maximum of 90 days. This includes the ‘Dubai Way’ section, a 12-hour e-learning course that provides the information and skills needed to become a tour guide and provides a high standard of customer service. The Dubai Way online learning platform features a series of interactive video lessons with the modules in the programme designed to help participants expand their knowledge of the emirate and its tourism industry, as well as improving their guest relations and service skills.

The second stage is the ‘Knowledge Assessment and Interview’ a two-hour online test, followed by a virtual interview. The ‘Skills Development and Assessment’ is the final section, which includes a series of videos and online activities to further enhance the skills of applicants. It is then followed by a 15-20-minute practical assessment with an instructor. All of these steps can be completed virtually and, in total, will take 21 hours.

Upon the successful completion of these three stages, applicants will receive a digital certificate and a two-year tour guide license. Individuals interested in becoming entrepreneurs and running their own tour guide businesses must also separately apply for either an Intlaq license from the Department of Economic Development (for UAE Nationals) or a Trade License, if the business owner is an expatriate. For further information about the Dubai Tour Guide Programme, please visit www.tourguidetraining.ae.

Mariam Al Maeeni, director of Industry Nationalisation, Dubai College of Tourism added: “Nationalisation initiatives launched by Dubai College of Tourism including the Medyaf programme encourage young nationals to join the tourism industry, preparing them for a suitable career based on their skills and competencies. The tour guide training programme forms an important element of Medyaf and we are constantly making improvements to it in line with evolving local training requirements and international standards. As Emiratis are among the most passionate about Dubai and can be our best tourism ambassadors, we are committed to helping more of them build professional careers as tour guides. To encourage more Emiratis to join the programme, we are promoting this training course extensively through our social media platforms, and we will also be organising virtual informational one-on-one sessions with interested participants to educate them about the application process and the job opportunities in this field.”

As a leading vocational education institution in the region, DCT aims to ensure a steady stream of highly trained tourism professionals for Dubai. In addition to Dubai Way and Medyaf, the college is also offering ‘Dubai Expert’, an interactive online training programme for international travel agents, as part of its efforts to deliver fundamental programmes specifically designed for those working within the tourism industry, to further enhance Dubai’s position as a ‘must-visit’ destination.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - April 27, 2020 at 2:34 pm

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Dubai leads the world on recovery from Coronavirus, Metro opens with Guidlines

Dubai Metro Restarts With New Stickers Giving Safety Advices To Contain The Spread of COVID-19

As Dubai Metro resumes operations from Sunday, 26 April, Dubai Government has installed new safety and etiquette signage across public transport to raise awareness of essential health and safety procedures to contain the spread of coronavirus COVID-19.

In addition to Dubai Metro, the new signs educating people on preventive measure will be installed across all public transport modes including buses and taxis.

The new signage uses icons and colours to educate the public about the importance of preventive practices, such as wearing masks and observing social distancing. It also promotes good practices such as wearing gloves, using sterilisers and hand-washing.

There are two types of signs displayed at all entry and exit points of metro and bus stations as well as public transit means, taxis and public facilities. The first is obligatory and comprises four icons, namely: No Sitting (on some seats of public transit means and facilities), Two Passengers Only (in taxis and limousines), Leave Safe Distance (in closed areas), and Wear Mask (in all places). The second is educative and includes three icons: Use Gloves, Medical Santisers, and Wash Hands.

The Roads and Transport Authority is fixing 170,000 stickers bearing the new icons in various means and stations of public transport such as Dubai Metro, public buses, taxis, limousines and customer happiness centres.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - April 26, 2020 at 3:12 pm

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Friday, 24th April 2020 1st of Ramadan in UAE

ABU DHABI, 23rd April, 2020 — The moon-sighting committee has announced that Friday 24th April, 2020 will be the first day of the Holy Month of Ramadan in the UAE.

Ramadan in UAE 2020

Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Moon Sighting Committee, in a statement following the committee’s meeting at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, said that after investigation, application of relevant Sharia laws, and contacts with neighbouring countries, tomorrow Friday, 24th April 2020 will be the first day of Ramadan.

Al Badi and the committee members, in the statement, congratulated President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, and the Crown Princes of the Emirates, on the occasion of the Holy Month of Ramadan, and prayed to Allah Almighty to keep His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed in good health for the sake of his country, Arab Nation and Muslim Nation.

The committee members also congratulated UAE people and all Muslims around the world on the occasion.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - April 24, 2020 at 5:45 am

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How Expo 2020 Dubai will bring the world together again

As the executive committee of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) that oversees the world fairs has agreed to a proposal to postpone Expo 2020 Dubai we can now start working on making what would have been the greatest show on Earth even greater. BIE took the right decision to unanimously agree to Dubai’s recommendation for the delay.

Although so much work has been put to hold the event next fall the truth is there were simply far too many obstacles caused by the ongoing global pandemic to do so.

Although Expo Dubai’s main theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future remains relevant perhaps in a world emerging from a global pandemic its sub-themes of “Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity” will feature more prominently since these are the very challenges that the new world will be grappling with
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The casualty toll continues to mount although there are positive signs emerging of it slowing down. Furthermore, global travel has been disrupted and physical distancing measures would have made it all but impossible to bring together millions of people into the many pavilions that are being constructed.

The silver lining

There are however silver linings. Around the world the greatest minds are working diligently to find a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19 although roll out may take some time.

Physical distancing measures said to last for anywhere from a few weeks to 18 months will gradually be lifted. Human beings will, as they have done countless times, will once again triumph in the face of the greatest odds.

This virus will be beaten. The world will rejoice. Humanity will come together and meet and greet in person once again. Expo will take place and Dubai will be there welcoming guests as it always has. Moreover we must keep in mind that this delay is not without precedent.

Delay in original plan

The 1929 Barcelona International Exposition was originally slated to be held in 1917 but the events of the Great War delayed the original plans. This delay will also give a chance for the fifty countries or so that have not made official commitments to set up pavilions to do so now.

We can look back and draw inspiration here from Expo 1958 Brussels that was held under the theme “Progress and Mankind” allowing the world to come together and heal after the devastation of the Second World War.

Back then the world had yet to come to terms with the unfathomable number of human lives that were lost and the economic ruin inflicted upon most countries. And yet it was a time of hope and renewal, when newly decolonised countries sat face to face as equals with their once occupying powers and a new post War reality set in.

Despite, or perhaps especially at a difficult time like this it has become evident that Dubai’s role is indispensable to the region and the world. Its International Humanitarian City, inaugurated back in 2003, today hosts nine United Nations bodies and coordinates not only the UAE’s help of over 260 tonnes of medical and food aid to 24 countries but is a central node for the global response to the pandemic in the region and beyond.

Dubai, ever resilient and constantly adapting, will do it again. It has done it before. In September 2003 Dubai held the first global meeting after the March 2003 invasion of Iraq that split the world into camps.

That US led invasion not only pitted traditional Cold War opponents against one another but also saw close allies, France and the US, publicly scold each other. French hotels removed US flags and US traders threatened to boycott French products (remember Freedom Fries?).

Safe and secure environment

In that tense atmosphere Dubai received 183 members of both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank becoming the first Arab country to do so. It provided a safe and secure environment for the 18,600 official delegates and journalists who attended the meetings.
Dubai
The importance of the Expo is far greater than an event to exhibit the latest technologies and soft power initiatives Image Credit: Supplied

The 2003 meetings in Dubai set the stage for debt relief and for the recognition of greater equality between the voices of developed and developing countries. According to a senior official then one of the main strategic targets in the lead to the meetings was for the organisers to “deal with the event as a country, rather than simply the emirate of Dubai alone.”

That heightened level of preparedness warranted Dubai high praise from attendees, a feat it will no doubt repeat when it hosts the Expo next year.

The importance of the Expo is far greater than an event to exhibit the latest technologies and soft power initiatives. Expo now will have the gargantuan task of bringing human beings back together in a celebration of humanity.

Although Expo Dubai’s main theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future remains relevant perhaps in a world emerging from a global pandemic its sub-themes of “Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity” will feature more prominently since these are the very challenges that the new world will be grappling with.

This time around it won’t be only the UAE, or the Arab Gulf States, or even the wider Arab World rooting for the success of the Dubai Expo.

All countries will look to it as an indicator that the worst of the current pandemic is over and, as was the case with the post War Expo Brussels, that the world can start a process of healing and recovery.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 5:42 am

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Why Coronavirus Cannot Kill Aviation

Not long ago, the biggest concern facing commercial aviation was whether Airbus and Boeing could produce enough aircraft to keep up with demand. Industry leaders fretted about how quickly they could ramp up production and whether the supply chain could keep pace. Some airlines were equally bullish, with American Airlines CEO Doug Parker proclaiming: “I don’t think we’re ever going to lose money again.”

After a run of unparalleled and seemingly unstoppable prosperity, aviation and aerospace have flown into a perfect storm. The temporary shutdown of Boeing’s 737 MAX production line has waylaid aerospace suppliers. But that pales in comparison to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which first crippled a crucial growth engine, China, and is now decimating air transport markets around the world.

Each day brings a new round of fleet groundings, layoffs and order deferrals or cancellations, which in the coming months will rip through the manufacturing industry like a tornado. A new forecast from Europe projects Airbus will be forced to cut planned production nearly in half in 2021 and may not fully recover before 2027. Boeing is calling on the U.S. government to provide at least $60 billion in aid to aerospace manufacturers, U.S. airlines want another $58 billion, airports $10 billion and the maintenance, repair and overhaul industry $11 billion. It would not be hyperbole to call this the greatest crisis civil aviation has faced since the dawn of the commercial jet age more than six decades ago.

But amid such panic, we need to take a deep breath and remember that this industry has survived many big challenges: oil price spikes; the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks; the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome; and the 2008-09 global financial meltdown. Each time commercial aviation has recovered and grown stronger, resuming its long-held trend of outpacing global economic growth.

In one way, the disruption to our lives and businesses caused by the travel restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19 illustrates the degree to which the world has come to rely on air transportation, from enabling commerce to connecting families. This is a crisis on an unprecedented scale for aviation, and there are airlines and businesses that certainly will not survive. But the extent of the disruption gives hope that demand for air transportation will return unabated once the restrictions are lifted.

It is vital for governments, lawmakers and industry leaders to recognize that aviation will need help getting through such destructive upheaval. But in some cases, the optics will invite legitimate criticism. For example, Boeing has returned nearly $50 billion to its shareholders over the past five years while investing far less. Now it wants taxpayers to cough up tens of billions for a bailout? U.S. airlines are no better: They have sent 96% of free cash flow to shareholders over the last five years. And what about those airlines in Europe that should have been allowed to die long ago? Will they use this crisis as leverage for yet another government rescue?

Clearly, there are lessons to be learned from the crisis, and a return to business as usual will not suffice. But in the near term, this is not about partisan politics or competitive advantage. It is about helping a vital industry survive this calamity. Commercial aviation is a connective tissue that underpins global commerce, drives prosperity and supports many millions of jobs. Allowing it to wither is not a realistic option. The coming days will be dark, but rest assured the industry will recover and once again prosper.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 24, 2020 at 3:53 am

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Emirates Suspends 70 Per Cent Of Routes

Emirates has announced it is suspending flights to more destinations in light of ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and restrictions on air travel.

The total number of destinations affected now stands at 111, which means Emirates has temporarily suspended more than 70% of its routes. 

The latest destinations added to the list include cities in the UK, the USA, Australia and all cities in New Zealand. 

Some of these routes are suspended until June end, meaning many expatriate residents will need to look for alternatives to fly back home if they need to travel before 30 June.

Services to Auckland, Christchurch, Chicago, Brisbane, Stockholm, Vienna, Manila, Colombo, Glasgow, Newcastle, and London Stansted are also suspended until the end of June.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 22, 2020 at 4:35 pm

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UAE to suspend all visa on arrival from March 19

Dubai: The UAE will temporarily suspend issuing all visas on arrival from March 19, Gulf News learnt.

The UAE Embassy in London said on Twitter on Wednesday that from March 19, there will be no visas on arrival for travelers from UK until further notice.

Meanwhile, UK government announced a foreign travel advice for their citizens that UAE will temporarily suspend all visas on arrival with the exception of Diplomatic passport holders.

UAE Citizens and Residents are not impacted by this decision. Those who enter the country may be tested on arrival and/or be required to self-isolate, according to statement at the government website.

An official of the Australian Embassy also tweeted that the UAE will suspend issuing all visas on arrival, including for Australians. “Australians living in the UAE with existing resident visas are not affected,” the tweet said.

Earlier this week, Dubai Airports said that passengers from some countries can still get visas on arrival at Dubai International.

Effective March 17, UAE authorities have temporarily suspended the issuance of all entry visas.

This does not apply to those passengers holding diplomatic passports

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - March 19, 2020 at 1:47 am

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UAE cancels all pre-approved visas including workpermits

Dubai: Amid Coronavirus UAE Government has cancelled all types of new visas issued prior to March 17, visitors workers entering UAE on the visis issued prior to March 17 2020 will not be allowed to enter the country.

According to a March 18 notification issued by the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, which has been communicated to airlines by Dubai Airports’ Airport Operations Control Centre, “Pre-issued UAE visas (all types) are cancelled and they [passengers with these visas] cannot apply for new visas until further notice”.

“This is effective from March 17, 2020. All passengers holding this visa type should not be allowed to board flights as they will not be allowed to enter the country,” states the notification, a copy of which is available with Gulf News.
Quarantine for returning residents

The notification further states that residents travelling back to the UAE need to be notified that they will be quarantined for a duration of two weeks once they arrive.

“Therefore, kindly notify them to ensure that all passengers understand the rules and regulations,” the notification said.

“Travel agencies and ticket sales centres need to be notified to ensure that they notify customers prior to their travel bookings.”

The airlines have also been asked to ensure documentation, operations and tasks to all strategic partners in minutes of meetings and ensure they proceed with the rules and regulations to fulfil the objectives defined.

Airline officials said they are now implementing the new directives.

However, travel agents said visa suspension rules have not impacted those renewing, extending or amending the status of visas while being inside the country.

Sources told Gulf News that the UAE government had briefed diplomatic missions in the country about the move in an online briefing held on Tuesday. They were also assured that refunding would be issued to the applicants whose visas have been auto-cancelled. However, Gulf News could not get an immediate comment on this from the federal and local authorities concerned.
Passengers caught unawares

Meanwhile, sources told Gulf News that several passengers with various types of new visas, who have landed in the UAE since Tuesday, were initially barred from entering the country.

While some were sent back to their countries, others gained entry after several hours, sources said.

A travel industry source said several passengers, who were barred entry at Dubai International Airport on Tuesday afternoon, were allowed to leave the airport later at night.

“Officials decided to approve their entry around 10.30pm. I think that decision was taken considering the fact that they are already here. But I don’t think anyone else would be allowed to fly in like that now onwards as airlines have been strictly told not board new visa holders on UAE flights,” he said.

Similarly, a group of Indians with visit/tourist visas, that landed in Abu Dhabi from Kochi in Kerala, on Wednesday morning was initially asked to fly back home.

“A few of them returned after rescheduling their flight. However, around 20 people who were issued boarding passes to fly back were finally allowed entry. They were brought back from the boarding gate,” said an Indian resident in Dubai, whose neighbour and son were among the group of visitors.

Videos from Kerala in India showed airline officials explaining to new visa holders flying to the UAE that they would not be allowed to fly.

Several people shared screen shots showing the status of approved visas as “cancelled before entry”.

Dubai resident M. Ghani said his colleague’s mother, who is supposed to fly in on March 30, is now unable to come even though her visa was issued before the suspension of new visas on March 17.

“She is staying all alone. All her four children are here. That is why they wanted to bring her here during this crisis. They had taken the visa through a travel agent. But now the immigration system shows it is auto-cancelled.”

He said the family wants to know if the cancellation of approved visas would be revoked anytime soon and if not, whether people like them would be refunded.

“We hope that it is a temporary measure and people whose visas are automatically cancelled before their arrival would still be able to come after this crisis,” he said.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - at 1:42 am

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