Before the arrival of Covid in 2019, almost 17 million holidaymakers made their way to Dubai from over 233 countries. Now with lockdown restrictions easing worldwide, travellers are returning to the global tourist hotspot. If you are making a break for sunshine in the beachside city here is what you need to know and what you can expect on your arrival.
Who is welcome?
In July 2020, Dubai announced that it was open again for visitors, becoming one of the first countries to welcome back tourists. Research from travel price comparison website, Wego, ranked Dubai as the no. 1 destination for spring holidaymakers. Tourist visas are now available to all passport holders that were allowed to visit the Emirate before the arrival of Covid. To find out whether you need a visa and how to apply for one, you can check Visit Dubai.
To minimise the number of COVID cases entering Dubai, all passengers arriving from any point of origin must hold a negative PCR test certificate. You are required to present this before boarding the plane. You must take the test no more than 72 hours before the time of departure. Negative COVID-19 certificates must be printed in English or Arabic. No hand-written, SMS or digital certificates will be accepted.
Children under the age of 12 and passengers who have a moderate or severe disability are exempt from this COVID‑19 PCR test.
Depending on where you have travelled from, you may be required to do another PCR test upon landing in Dubai Airports. After completing the test, you need to download the 'COVID-19 DXB' app on your smartphone. Through this application, you will receive the result of your test.
Until you receive a negative PCR test result, you must self-quarantine where you are staying. The test result generally comes within 24 hours but has been known to arrive earlier.
If the test result is positive, you will be required to undergo isolation and follow the Dubai Health Authority guidelines.
PCR test on arrival is required if you are arriving from any of these countries:
Afghanistan, Angola, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Ivory Coast, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Poland, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Russia, Senegal, Slovakia, Somaliland, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
What safe tourist attractions are open?
A tourist hotspot, Dubai has a range of world-class attractions for travellers to visit and see. On the ground, you must adhere to the local restrictions that are in place to help stop the spread of Covid.
Wearing face masks is compulsory, with €700 fines for anyone who does not comply. Maintaining a safe social distance of 2 metres is practised, and the use of hand sanitisers available in every location and venue is advised.
Amusement and water parks are open but are operating at reduced capacity to prevent crowding on rides. For indoor seated venues, such as cinemas, the capacity limit is at 50 per cent.
When dining in a restaurant, the number of people who can sit at one table is limited to 7 per table. Entertainment in restaurants and cafes is banned, and they must be closed by 1 am.
Recently, restrictions in hotels have eased, and their capacity limit has increased from 70% to 80%.
Why is Dubai a safe destination?
Lloy Rubio Manager of the popular eatery, Lola Taberna Española, said, "Dubai has done a great job marketing itself as a safe destination for travel. More than 70% of the population will be vaccinated in the next 2 months so this certainly gives people ease of mind. In addition, the climate, beaches, and an array of top-tier restaurants are an added selling point when placing Dubai on the map of top places to visit.
We’ve been fortunate to see an increase in numbers over the last few months. I am forecasting for some good months ahead considering that travel is partially restricted".
Can tourists get vaccinated?
Dubai's vaccine rollout has created a positive attitude towards safety in the city. In January, the Government announced that all United Arab Emirate citizens and residents are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The total number of vaccination doses administered per 100 people in the total population was 86 on the 3rd of April. The Emirate aims to vaccinate 100 per cent of its eligible population as soon as possible. Tourists currently cannot receive a vaccination whilst visiting Dubai.
Is a COVID test needed to exit the country?
When your holiday in Dubai nears an end, you must check your return destination's entry requirements before departure. You can do so here on the Emirates Airline website. It's advised to check requirements as you may need to do another PCR test before exiting, depending on your destination.