Dubai is going ahead with its six-month Expo 2020 world’s fair, confident that the six-month exposition can be safely held in a part of the world that says it’s handled the coronavirus pandemic particularly well.
Issam Kazim, CEO of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, told a recent webinar that the October-through-March show will see representation by more than 190 countries in “one of the first cities to restart events” after the onset of the pandemic.
“We’re all excited about it,” Kazim said, adding visitors will find a “jam-packed calendar.”
Daily events are planned. The show was to have been held last year but was delayed because of coronavirus concerns.
Dubai began hosting events again last year, one of the first destinations to do so. Kazim said the virtual events staged worldwide during the past year will never replace people’s wish to actually gather in a safe manner.
Kazim said Dubai has enjoyed a “relatively good rebound,” and is among the top 10 jurisdictions worldwide in terms of the distribution of the coronavirus vaccination.
Visitors are asked to wear masks in public places and practice social distancing.
Dubai has enjoyed massive oil revenues in recent decades but has been working to diversify its economy, in part by strengthening its tourist trade. Many associate the United Arab Emirates destination with such unusual tourist attractions as an indoor ski hill, projects that reflect its affluence.
Dubai is also home to the upscale, futuristic-looking Burj Al Arab hotel, which some have dubbed a “7-star” property.
But Kazim said grand, eye-catching tourism projects aren’t Dubai’s focus.
“We’re trying to move away from the superlatives… We’re looking at the depth and the quality,” said Kazim, who reported that Dubai has seen many new restaurants and galleries open.
One area Dubai has been working on is beach tourism, with tourists invited to enjoy its hot, sunny weather.
Many view the smallish destination as only deserving of a visit of a couple of days, a perception tourism authorities want to change, with Kazim saying “even a week or 10 days is not enough to absorb all that Dubai has.”
Kazim said his department wants Dubai to look attractive to different types of people, including business travellers and women travelling alone. It’s also inviting people to consider Dubai as a retirement destination.
Dubai’s location often leads people to view it as a hub during their travels but tourism authorities are promoting what many view as an ultra-modern part of the world thanks to oil revenues as a place for exotic experiences, such as desert safaris.
Dubai has been working energetically during the pandemic to get the word out about its tourism attributes, having hosted fam trips in 2020, the first of them in September. It’s also hosted some 60 webinars during the past year, training over 11,000 travel agents on what it offers their clients.