Emirates is set to reinstate capacity between the UK and Dubai after the Gulf state was among eight destinations added to the government’s ‘safe’ travel corridor list.
The airline and Dubai Tourism joined trade response in welcoming the measure which will see the need to quarantine for 14 days on return to the UK from the United Arab Emirates removed from Saturday.
Travel other than for business remains banned while England remains in second Covid lockdown until December 2, but the shift in government policy has raised hopes for a winter sun revival to the Middle East.
British travellers planning to visit Dubai must present a negative Covid-19 PCR test which can either be done within 96 hours before departure or on arrival at Dubai airport.
They can also expect to see changes with social distancing measures “front of mind” to keep visitors safe.
Searches to Dubai via Icelolly.com increased by 25% on Thursday evening folloiwng the announcement by trabsport secretary Grant Shapps compared with the previous day.
Arlound 60% of UAE searches were for December (38%) and January travel (23%), with people checking out prices for winter trips once lockdown is lifted at the start of December.
Head of travel deals Chris Webber said: “Despite being in a second lockdown, eager UK travellers are looking for these opportunities to grab some sun as soon as they can get away.
“Popular winter sun destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi getting travel corridors gets holidaymakers’ imagination heading to the beach and they naturally want to find the best deal to get them there, once lockdown is lifted.”
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group, said: “We welcome the UK’s decision to add the UAE to its list of countries where arriving travellers are exempt from quarantine.
“This is a positive development for the many people in the UAE who have been yearning to spend time with family and friends in the UK, and vice versa.
“It is also a recognition of the UAE’s effective response in containing the pandemic.
“We believe this move will benefit businesses and tourism, and Emirates is ready to reinstate more flight services between Dubai and the UK to serve customer demand.”
Dubai Tourism chief executive Issam Kazi said that following the announcement to include Dubai on the UK’s travel exemption quarantine list, “we are delighted to welcome British visitors back to the city from December 3”.
Kazi added: “Since opening our borders on July 7 a key priority for us has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our residents and guests in Dubai.
“We hope these stringent measures and the news of today’s travel exemption quarantine list give confidence to British visitors to come and experience Dubai for some winter sun.”
Mansoor Abulhoul, the UAE ambassador to the UK, said: “The announcement of a UAE-UK travel corridor today is brilliant news and a testament to the strength of the UAE-UK relationship. This lays a promising foundation for when normal international travel resumes.
“The UAE remains one of the safest places in the world against Covid-19 and continues to have one of the highest testing rates globally. Our hotels, restaurants and malls have been up and running since April and look forward to hosting many British visitors again soon.”
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