UAE tourism recovery to accelerate in 2021 on vaccine push

19 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

DUBAI: The UAE hospitality and tourism industry’s recovery is expected to accelerate in 2021 driven by its Covid-19 vaccine push and easing travel restrictions in some markets, government officials and hoteliers said.

Abu Dhabi expects its hotel occupancy rates to increase to at least 80 per cent this year, from 70 per cent in 2020, Saood Abdulaziz Mohamed Al Hosani, undersecretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, told The National, report agencies.

“While we forecast a substantial recovery for Abu Dhabi’s tourism sector in 2021 ... our focus remains on delivering high-quality, exciting experiences with health, safety and well-being as our number one priority,” he said. “Abu Dhabi is well prepared to welcome increasing numbers of new arrivals in a safe environment.”

The UAE, a regional tourism and business hub, can bank on its speedy Covid-19 vaccination campaign, the hosting of the Dubai Expo world fair in October, open borders and visa reforms, which will boost the number of visitors to the country, officials and hoteliers said.

Abu Dhabi plans to expand its Green List (countries, regions and territories that you can travel from if planning a trip to the emirate) and anticipates a growing number of countries to be added to it in the “near future”, the DCT official said.

The DCT’s Green List, which currently comprises of 14 countries, is constantly being reviewed based on Covid-19 developments globally. It is designed to allow travellers from select destinations to enter the capital without the need to quarantine.

“Given the extraordinary efforts that have been made to ensure public safety, we will be looking at easing travel restrictions for international tourists allowing for even more visitors to safely enjoy their holiday in Abu Dhabi,” Mr Al Hosani said.

The UAE’s high rate of vaccinations administered per capita will have a “positive impact” on its travel agreements with countries, which would depend on certain health and safety criteria, he said.