……denies media report on restriction
….. allays fears of Covid19
The Dubai Tourism Board says Nigeria is very important to Dubai and its doors are always open to Nigerians.
This is just as the board denies the recent press and social media reports of a purported travel restrictions between Nigeria and the UAE.
At the 2nd webinar series by the National Association of Travel Agencies in Nigeria, NANTA, tagged: “Tourism Business Opportunities in Face of New Normal”, the Director International Operations in-charge of Africa Region for Dubai Tourism, Stella Ibiene Obinwa said Nigeria was number one in terms of visitors to Dubai.
She emphasized that of the 49 Sub-Saharan countries, the second placed country does not even come close to 50% of the number of Nigerians that visit Dubai, adding that this could be attributed to the appetite Nigerians have to travel and the good work travel agents and the Dubai Tourism were doing to educate the public.
According to her, the Government and the Tourism Board of Dubai was working assiduously to make Dubai the preferred destination for all Africans to comes, to create opportunities and partnerships with different companies that were involved in travel/tourism with the goals of converting all travelers from different countries to visit Dubai.
On the current situation in Dubai with the Covid-19, the Dubai Tourism Director said, as at August 2nd, the UAE conducted 5.1million Covid-19 tests and less than 1% of those 5.1 million came back as positive.
Explaining further, she said in terms of testing globally, the UAE was 6th in the world, “put that in perspective of all the countries in the world and keep in mind that the UAE is not probably not even ranked in the top 200 when it comes to population, we are 6th in testing. Everyday depending on the day, during the weekends, the UAE conducts anywhere between 30,000 to 50,000 Covid-19 test on a daily basis.”
The chances of fear that anyone would work into someone in the UAE that has Covid-19 according to her was slim, adding that once they have been tested and were positive, they go into quarantine.
Stella expressed the hope that everyone who travels out of an African country would make Dubai a destination of choice at the very least once a year.
“We reopened on July 7th, everything is opened, all the attractions, the public and hotels, the beaches, the shopping malls, the restaurants, swimming pools, the water parks, the golf courses, everything is open with new Covid-19 restrictions.”
She stressed that a lot of changes were ongoing to keep those coming to Dubai safe and for visitors to maximize their stay.
“I know many of you are already familiar selling Dubai but things have changed actually for the better since Covid has come along, we have done a lot to take over the pandemic and the things we are doing to keep you safe, the things you need to know to travel to Dubai and to stay and to maximize your stay.”
She reiterated, “travel agents hold the power right now, everybody who wants to travel, no matter how sophisticated they are, they are contacting a travel agent that they can hear their voice and communicate with in order to plan their Travel. So you need to educate yourself, be that source of information to the community.”
On the recent rumoured travel restrictions between Nigeria and the UAE, the Dubai Tourism Director said, it was sad that some people have condescended so low to spread rumour of two friendly countries.
She however blamed this on the handiwork of some travel agents who deliberately want to misinform the consumers.
“Am also sadly, going to address all sorts of rumours that are out there in social media and it is unfortunate that these rumors are being put up in the social media space by travel agencies. It is okay if the advantage consumer put these things out there but when it is coming from a travel agency and the information is not correct it is of great concern and one of the reasons why as Susan said, I prefer to work with NANTA because I have a source of accountability.”
It would be recalled that the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Abuja in an official statement dated 6th August, 2020, had denied the accuracy of the information contained in those reports.
The statement read, “At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE took a number of precautionary measures to combat the virus’ spread including the temporary suspension of issuing UAE visas for all Nationalities a of March 17, 2020.”
“After entering the recovery phase of the pandemic, the UAE eased some measures on July 7, permitting visitors from various countries to adhere to the various necessary precautionary measures including by showing negative PCR test results within 92 hours of traveling to the UAE. This including those visiting from Nigeria.”
“However, travel between the UAE and Nigeria has remain limited due to the closure of the Nigerian airspace, and the UAE embassy in Abuja continues to work closely with the Nigerian government to obtain the necessary approvals to facilitate travel between the two countries.”
“The UAE embassy in Abuja calls upon the public to verify the authenticity of such reports and to seek information from the official sources”, it concluded.