UAE’s handling of coronavirus built up trust among incoming tourists; upcoming season will be ‘amazing’ for the emirate’s hotel and hospitality sector, said Raffles the Palm MD
With the number of coronavirus cases across the UAE having dropped 62 percent since January, and with Expo 2020 less than a month away, Dubai’s hospitality sector is geared up for an “amazing season up ahead”, according to Ayman Gharib, managing director of Raffles The Palm.
Set to open its doors on Palm Jumeirah by the end of the year, the ultra-luxury hotel plans to take its share of the expected tourist influx, said Gharib.
“Over the past year, no surprise, Dubai has done it again; it’s the city of miracles and positive surprises. When most of the cities and countries around the globe were still trying to find a way out of the pandemic, Dubai has already been hitting the ground running,” said Gharib.
“I think what the leadership of the country has done is set that example of excellence when it comes to dealing with Covid-19 and that sent a very strong message to the globe. It built up the trust for incoming tourists and that was reflected in the demand we saw last October, November and December,” he continued.
Following the relatively slow summer months, tourism to Dubai is expected to boom again, bolstered by the continuing decrease of the number of coronavirus cases in the UAE, even as the rest of the world battles with the delta variant.
Daily cases of Covid in the UAE have dropped below four figures in recent days, while the vaccination rate remains consistently high. The total number of doses provided up to Saturday afternoon stood at 18,405,147 with a rate of vaccine distribution of 186.09 doses per 100 people.
“If you reflect on our situation today, the only sign of the existence of Covid that we have now is that we’re still wearing our masks; apart from that life is back to normal,” said Gharib.
“People are very well educated about the dos and don’ts in a Covid-19 environment and everybody is abiding by the regulations. That’s the success of this country: People coming together towards a common goal,” he continued.
Expected to attract 25 million visits, Dubai Expo 2020 will commence in October and is highly anticipated by the emirate’s hoteliers.
“Because of the success of how the government managed the situation over the course of last year, this is going to give a lot of confidence to people to come and see what Dubai has to offer as a city, and why not visit Expo at the same time?” asked Gharib.
“I think Expo is going to be very successful because we have a proven example that it’s a safe city, they’ve done it very well, people are confident to come in,” he continued.
“The latest development – that whoever is vaccinated is welcome to come into the city – is an additional advantage that’s going to push tourism even further,” added Gharib.
While more details will be revealed closer to the opening, Gharib said that Raffles The Palm will feature world class F&B outlets, including a restaurant in partnership with Bulldozer Group and a jazz bar, and a holistic spa. Raffles’ renowned butler service will also be part of the ultra-luxurious service provided to the hotel’s guests.