Dubai is one of the famous tourist destinations of all time. Burj Khalifa – the tallest manmade structure, Dubai fountain with lights that dances on music, the beaches, desert safari, Atlantis, an aquarium resort and the Palm. Tourism is considered as the major economic source of income in Dubai and also is the way for Dubai’s government to maintain foreign cash flow in the country. According to the available data, in 2018 Dubai recorded 15.93 million international tourists overnight. The data was updated after the number of tourists arrived Dubai in 2016 was 14.9 million, which is low comparatively. Dubai has witnessed rise in tourism over the past few years.
Lot of tourists from different countries loves to visit Dubai because of the two timelines, country offers. Dubai has its lavish life in New Dubai with night clubs, Dubai aquarium, beaches, Dubai mall, alongside traditional and historical mementos in Old Dubai that features Aladdin lamps, lucky stone, lanterns, kava pots.
In 2019, Dubai’s tourism released data mentioning, around 1 million Indians visited Dubai in only first half of 2019, which was the highest rate as compare to other international tourists. According to the data, out of 8.36 million international visitors Dubai received in initial six months of the year 2019, 997,000 were from India, a massive figure to count on. 26 years old Bhavana recently visited Dubai with her partner. She said, “I was amazed when I saw number of Indians there. There were quite good number of Indian tourists I could see. The hotel that we stayed in also had about 4 to 5 Indian families.”
Adding to her experience there, ‘It is a beautiful country. Old Dubai is full of shops that offers traditional showpieces, Dubai’s old lifestyle, whereas Dubai mall and Burj Khalifa is definitely “must to visit“. People were very helpful and kind’, she said. Dubai has all required arrangements in mid pandemic for tourists. The covid tests are available at most hospitals with the facility in the airport as well.
Mr. Tanveer Khan is working as Receiving officer in UAE’s best lifestyle hotel called “Five Palm Jumeirah“. The hotel receives good number of Indian bookings with lots of celebrities who also consider staying longer. Indian tourists contributing in large number to Dubai’s tourism showcases both the countries relations, politically and economically. According to Mr. Tanveer, “India is the largest contributor for Dubai tourism. UAE is home for the highest number of Indians abroad which is the main reason for Dubai to receive lots of Indian tourist. In 2020 Dubai welcomed 865,000 visitors from India which is the highest. They more than double in figures from the second-best contributors.“ He added, “This immense growth is due to the new generational of leisure attractions is UAE, relaxed visa regulations for Indians, additional airline routes, increasing business and job opportunities that UAE offers.“ He stated not only for vacations but for several other financial and business reasons, Indians prefer to visit UAE.
But due to covid, Dubai tourism got affected with passing its effects on hotel business. “Yes, due to pandemic hotel industry got the major blow and it affected business very badly. Several people lost their jobs, bookings went down. It was tough time for the hospitality industry in the entire world. but some hotels maintained average occupancy by lowering room rates up to 50-60%. Charges have gone down due to desperate times desperate measures. Hotels need to survive this pandemic“, said Mr. Khan.
On asking, although flight bookings and hotels are lowering their price and are attracting quite acceptable number of tourists while fighting with covid restrictions, is pre covid time was still favorable to the hotel industry? to which he responded, “Dubai had big plans of Expo 2020. It was about to happen and the industry was excited. The trends showed promising business and tremendous growth of the industry. But the pandemic changed everything. How people will think about travelling freely now? It will take couple of years to bounce back. Low prices are good but there are restrictions and new travel guide lines, that doesn’t make the whole experience better.“
Mr. Tanveer shared about the diverse nature of the hotel business saying, “You will always find hospitality industry includes people with different nationalities because this is how it works. Tourist comes from all countries, have different food habits, language and culture.“ Presenting the available statistics, he quoted, “It was estimated that before covid around 34,72,000 Indians were working and living in Dubai that is 27% of UAE population. You can find people from each Indian state working here. They are in every sector. Construction, petroleum, education, transport, retails, financial, manufacturing etc. In most of the organizations, more than 50% employees are Indian.“
One of the traits, that help in boosting up the tourism is how tourists get treated. Visitors remember the helping and kind locals or staff they meet during their journey to make it happen ‘again’. Throwing light on his hotel staff, Mr. Khan said, “Staff behavior is absolutely disciplined and polite. Dubai is known for hospitality.“
Indians preferring Dubai over other countries for vacations and business or living purpose majorly, is definitely because the country has suitable and relaxed regulations and a familiar environment. No doubt tourism sector is playing a significant role to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
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