Coronavirus: But how did Dubai manage to attract so many tourists in the midst of a pandemic?

For two years, the Covid virus – 000 nailed planes to the ground, confined entire countries, prohibited citizens from traveling, demotivated some unvaccinated to travel … One of the sectors which suffered the most is undoubtedly tourism . Yet one city miraculously seems to escape the gloom. Dubai , emirate of the United Arab Emirates, announced Monday that its airport was operating at full capacity. “The number of visitors to Dubai exceeded one million in October and DXB crossed the important milestone of one million passengers per week in November,” said the airport, which is among the busiest in the world.

A worldwide craze which the French have not escaped. “Compared to 2019, twice as many French people went to Dubai this year ”, said Tuesday on Franceinfo Jean -Pierre Mas, President of Travel Companies. According to him, this attractiveness is in particular due to the holding of the universal exhibition at the moment, on the spot. “This has broadened the profile of tourists, particularly with active retirees,” explains Guillaume Linton, president of tour operator Asia, specialist in tailor-made travel in Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific. But if the French agree to a seven to ten hour flight to go to Dubai, it is not only to “Connect Minds and Build the Future” (this is the theme of the Expo).

Social networks, the Dubai showcase

The emirate is also a seaside destination where the weather is good all year round and with ideal temperatures in winter, spring and autumn. It is also during the period “between August and December of this year that the mentions” Dubai “have doubled or even tripled on social networks, going from 72. at 629. 000 ”, notes Caroline Faillet, director of Opinion Act, a research firm that analyzes the behavior and opinion of Internet users on the Web. In recent months or even recent years, influencers and reality TV stars have been more and more numerous to settle there . A trend that could have participated in the craze around this destination. “Social networks are part of the inspiration for travel, because Internet users are exposed to dream images and idyllic situations”, underlines the expert.

Difficult, however, to establish a direct link between social networks and peak traffic. Caroline Faillet simply notes that a peak in searches related to Dubai on Google took place between November 2019 and April 2020 compared to other years . A flow that could be “linked to the organization of a trip to find out about flights, prices, hotels”. Because it turns out that going to Dubai (and this is one of its other assets) is easy, according to Guillaume Linton: “A direct flight, a hotel, a taxi and it’s good. »In France, flights are offered daily from Toulouse, Nice, Marseille, Paris and Lyon. “The average stay is four or five nights in the same hotel with the program, beach, visit of the city and its crazy architecture, leisure activities with its amusement parks and possibly a day trip in the desert next door” , further specifies the president of the tour operator Asia.

Three stars at 600 euros, Dubai’s aggressive policy

Leisure, sun, heavenly beaches… Okay, but Dubai is far from being the only one to offer this dream package. In Asia, there is also Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, which are among the favorite destinations of the French … Except that these countries have completely closed their borders during the pandemic . For Guillaume Linton, there was a phenomenon of communicating vessels. The regulars of these destinations then turned to Dubai, which until then was only in their eyes the stopover to go to these Asian countries. A plan B became possible, in particular because the emirate is no longer intended only for wealthy tourists. “Dubai has been practicing an aggressive pricing policy open to all budgets for a while,” Guillaume Linton analyzes. During the pandemic, you could have a five-day-three-night package in a 3-star hotel for 72 euros, flight included. ”

The price is not the only argument, however. The low level of sanitary restriction compared to other countries in the world has played a huge role. Dubai Airport was one of the first to reopen in July 2020 , barely a few months after the start of the global pandemic. “The only condition for going there has always been to have a PCR test of less than 20 time. There has never been a back and forth in the formalities imposed, no Stop & Go policy with border closures, which elsewhere have been dramatic for the tourism sector, because they are particularly dissuasive ”, adds the President. from the tour operator.

With this simple policy, Dubai has reassured travelers who book trips without fear of seeing it canceled at the last minute due to new measures within the country. There is also no risk of having to change plans during the stay. “Everything has always remained open: restaurants, bars, nightclubs, etc. There was no curfew or containment . The only rules were to respect distances, to wear a mask, to offer hydroalcoholic gel available, ”explains Guillaume Linton. A combo, of which Dubai is the winner today. 20211129