UAE Press: Gulf States Are All Set To Fasten Their Seatbelts

UAE Press: Gulf states are all set to fasten their seatbelts

ABU DHABI, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News / WAM - 18th May, 2021) A UAE newspaper has said that the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) got under way in Dubai on Sunday, marking the world's first in-person global travel and tourism event since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The four-day conference provides a platform for the tourism industry in the middle East and beyond. Given the breath-taking pace at which the nature of travel has changed in the past year, the fact that ATM is taking place at all, and involves guests from more than 60 countries, is extraordinary," said The National in an editorial on Tuesday.

According to a World Economic Forum report, nearly 90 percent of the global population lived in countries with travel restrictions last year. An estimated 25 million aviation jobs and 100 million travel and tourism jobs were said to be at risk at the time. Airlines recorded losses of $126.4 billion in 2020, with the region’s operators set back by $7.9bn.

The editorial added, "After a tough year, there are some indications of green shoots ahead, particularly in the Middle East. The Gulf is among the leading regions of the world making positive strides in public vaccination campaigns. This has convinced policymakers that the time has come to open up national borders and establish travel corridors – albeit gradually, with precautionary measures in place.

"This month, the UAE established travel corridors with four countries, allowing vaccinated residents to visit Greece, Serbia, Seychelles and Bahrain with no quarantine requirements when they arrive."

On Monday, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on international travel for its vaccinated residents, with some 385 international flights scheduled to depart from nine airports across the kingdom. Tourism into the kingdom, however, is still paused. It also reopened the King Fahd Causeway to Bahrain after 14 months. This year, unlike in 2020, the annual Muslim pilgrimage Hajj will include pilgrims from abroad.

Meanwhile, Egypt is targeting tourism revenue of more than $8bn as it aims to attract more than 8 million overseas visitors in 2021. Egyptian officials are in Dubai this week as part of ATM, looking at further ways to boost tourism.

The Abu Dhabi-based English language daily quoted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, as saying that there was "light at the end of the tunnel" for global tourism.