382556 dubai set a global example for safe opening after the pandemic wttc chief

Dubai set a global example for safe opening after the pandemic: WTTC chief

Over the next 10 years, travel and tourism will create 121,000 jobs in the country, averaging 12,100 a year

File photo

File photo

Published: Wed 17 May 2023, 12:15 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 May 2023, 5:47 PM

Dubai and the UAE took a pragmatic approach during the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of protecting the health of the public, as well as with jobs – and the world could learn a lot from the UAE’s experience, said Julia Simpson, president and CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council.

“There was concern over global health about how the pandemic is evolving. So governments operated differently. But Dubai was quite pragmatic, and opened up early with caution and vaccinations. It became one of the leaders in the world on how to open up safely,” she said.

“Some governments were putting countries on the red and non-red list, and there was no consistency. But we could learn a lot [from] what happened in the UAE and Dubai for the pragmatic approach that they took in balancing and protecting public health and jobs,” Simpson said, during a media briefing at the launch of the report on the UAE’s travel and tourism sector.

The pragmatic approach taken by the UAE helped the country to be one of the first to recover post-pandemic and meet the 2019 peak this year.

The UAE’s travel and tourism sector created more than 89,000 jobs in 2022 to reach more than 751,000, surpassing 2019 levels by an additional 6,000 jobs. It is estimated that another 7,000 jobs will be created this year.

Over the next 10 years, travel and tourism will create 121,000 jobs in the United Arab Emirates, averaging 12,100 a year.

‘Dubai is very competitive’

The World Travel & Tourism Council’s 2023 Economic Impact Research report on Wednesday revealed that the UAE’s travel and tourism sector is projected to meet the 2019 peak this year.

“The UAE has a very strong post-pandemic performance, and it is unique because the industry is totally integrated with the public and private sectors and all the verticals working together. That is the secret to success in the UAE,” said Simpson.

“I recognise the work of Dubai’s Department Economy and Tourism and the leadership of director-general Helal Al Marri. These things don’t just happen, but there is a vision of Dubai and the UAE,” said WTTC chief.

She pointed out that Dubai is pretty competitive. “There are a lot of expensive destinations out there but Dubai does a great job in marketing itself and providing a lot of different opportunities to businesses here.”

People spending on travel

She added that 34 countries are way above the 2019 numbers in terms of the travel and tourism sector’s performance – but those are smaller countries from the Caribbean region.

As a result of “revenge travel” in the post-pandemic period, the WTTC chief said demand is still outstripping supply in air travel, which has reached around 80 per cent of where it was in 2019.

“People are travelling a lot. There are high fares and high hotel prices in the market, inevitably, because of the demand outstripping supply, but so far that demand is still staying strong. A lot of people saved money during the pandemic and they don’t want to buy more things; they want to have more experiences and want to travel more. That is what we are seeing. Business travel is coming back and it will be fully back next year,” she added.


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