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Dubai hotel operators, cautiously optimistic, as tourists begin to trickle in

Jumeirah Group chief commercial officer Alexander Lee explained that “within the first week since it (the reopening) was confirmed, online bookings have doubled in terms of planned stays versus the previous weeks.” This is according to Arabian Business Newsletter.

Hotel operators in Dubai have recorded an increase in enquiries as the emirate re-opens to tourism, with many expressing cautious optimism that demand will pick up over the coming months.

On Tuesday, July 7, Dubai reopened its doors to international visitors in the hopes of reviving its tourism industry after a closure that lasted almost four months.

In an interview with Arabian Business sister publication Hotelier Middle East, Jumeirah Group chief commercial officer Alexander Lee explained that “within the first week since it (the reopening) was confirmed, online bookings have doubled in terms of planned stays versus the previous weeks.”

“Interestingly, international guests are also increasingly looking to visit in the next three months with over half of the bookings made post the announcement for July, August and September,” he added.

David Allan, Radisson Hotel Groups cluster GM, said that the hotel chain has the “early signs” of demand picking up in its properties in the UAE.

“[We] very much expect this to continue as we get deeper into July and the remainder of 2020,” he added.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) MEA head of operations David Todd, however, said he expects more of a "slow burn" as Dubais tourism sector slowly recovers over a longer period of time.

“With the ease in restrictions, we have already seen an uptake in demand from UAE residents,” he said. “With the opening of international borders, we hope to see demand return in the coming months. However, we expect this to be a gradual process.”

Local tourism authorities have also voiced optimism about the prospects of tourists returning to Dubai following the easing of restrictions.

On Tuesday, Helal Al Marri, the director general of the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said that he believes travel will normaliseheaded into the fall and winter.

“If we rewind six to eight weeks, everybody was in lockdown, and everybody was in a much more pessimistic situation,” he said. “Countries are opening up, albeit slowly, but I do expect a lot of countries to open up over the course of the summer. As we come into the fall and the winter, travel will normalise, albeit within this Covid situation.

“Once we look….to post-Covid, were expected to come back to normal,” he added. “Theres not a systematic issue with travel overall. People still really want to go on holiday. We can see that from the searches online and from the demand.”

Photo: On Tuesday, July 7, Dubai reopened its doors to international visitors in the hopes of reviving its tourism industry after a closure that lasted almost four months.