For the past two decades, Dubai has constantly exceeded expectations while maintaining desirability whether it is architecture, dining, retail or sports. Despite concerns of saturation, Dubai has taken very calculated steps in shaping up as a destination catering to the most diverse traveller / consumer product. Feasibility and turning a profit were at the core of its success. This has also attracted a segment of expatriates of the highest calibre in their domains.
EMIRATES, Jumeirah Group, Dubai Airports, Atlantis, Dubai Mall – are just some of the companies and brands nurtured by Dubai, each excelling in their sector not only locally but at a global level. Today, Dubai is so much more than superb hotels and resorts and some of the finest luxury shopping – Dubai is also about the arts with a recently inaugurated opera, museums, but also cutting edge technology and innovation, as well as sports.
World class companies and conglomerates are now calling Dubai home, the metropolis attracting talent from all over the world. Education and medicine have been a major focus for Dubai’s leaders. Major annual international events are now taking place in Dubai, the most recent being a major luxury exhibition which used to take place in Geneva.
At the debut of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the U.A.E. shut down its borders and its residents entering lockdown for over two months. This proved to be beneficial, the country registering relatively low stats of infections and fatalities. The country announced is re-opening for international travellers for July 7th. Unlike Dubai’s usual firm stance, was gradually replaced by several confusing messages regarding the restrictions foreign travellers would face when entering Dubai but also expatriates or even locals when traveling abroad and returning to the UAE. Several lists of countries were drawn up based on the criteria of low infections.
The list were then later replaced by an App which foreigners would need to use to provide their data pre-boarding a flight to Dubai and a Covid 19 test was announced as being compulsory but the test would be done on the spot on arrival at the UAE airport (port of arrival). More and more confusion was to follow. Early June, many E.U. countries raised concerns about the repatriation flights by Qatar Airways and EMIRATES Airline which would include nationals from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq etc. some of these ‘repatriation flights’ are still in operation, especially for India
Since Saturday 25th of July, all previous rules were again overturned and it was announced publicly that visitors of ANY nationality arriving from ANY country and traveling do Dubai would need show proof of a negative PCR type Covid-19 negative test in English or Arabic, although it is common sense that symptoms can appear at any time after the actual test.
Based on the country of origin, the website would provide a list of ”approved” local laboratories screening.purehealth.ae The price of a test is USD 214 per person and would only be payable by card, online, on this website. When implementing this new system Dubai authorities must have been aware that mostly small, private owned testing companies would accept to be included in this ‘on demand testing’ – not specialised hospitals, medical institutes or globally accredited clinics which would not engage in such commercial type of medical services ‘for tourism / travel purposes’
Many countries around the world have imposed a valid negative test on arrival – but they would only. specify the type of test, not indicate where to take the test and in no way pay the respective government for the test.
These measures will obviously p foreign travellers away especially when being told where to test for Covid-19 in their own country, not to mention the fact that the cost is a very high one. The same test payable at a specialist hospital costs between 25 and 40 euros.
Above any medical related reasoning, it remains to be seen whether this one-of-a-kind restrictive measures will prove to be a strength or a weakness for Dubai. One cannot help but wonder why authorities would not provide testing on arrival.
Beyond testing, Dubai also has to make it very clear what happens in the case of a foreign traveller who would arrive with a negative test and who shows symptoms after an incubation period of 5, 6 days. What is the procedure hotels should follow? Who will pay for the hospitalisation? What if only a member of the family develops symptoms? Who will pay for the hotel and food for the asymptomatic.
Companies such as Jumeirah Group have taken very comprehensive and at the same time strict measures of safety and hygiene to protect both guests and guests. The huge efforts undertaken by the group have been recognised by the prestigious Bureau Veritas which awarded the Safeguard label to no less than four Jumeirah Hotel properties in Dubai. Worldwide, there are a total of 9 luxury hotels which have succeeded in obtaining the highest ranked distinction.
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