Dubai has done whatever it takes to ensure that people who come to the city are safe, said a senior official, as Dubai slowly welcomes its first tourists this week.
Speaking to CNN’s John Defterios, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO and Chairman of the Emirates Group, talked about the 'calculated risk’ of restarting business in Dubai and the role of the airline in reopening the emirate to international visitors.
Speaking on Quest Means Business, Al Maktoum said when it comes to reopening the group, there's no choice in leveraging the risk/reward element, saying they have done “whatever it takes” to help restart the economy.
"We always take calculated risk, and I think we have done whatever it takes, really, to ensure that people who come here to be safe. I think we did so many tests to make sure also that we are geared for it. At the airport, we're using the PCRs, people coming in or leaving also to ensure also people leaving here. It is our reputation that we want to make sure and also to protect our staff around the airport and the city to feel very happy to do what they've been learning over the year," Al Maktoum told CNN.
When asked about expectations for the initial phase of tourism restart, Al Maktoum said: "I think we did whatever possible on the government side in the UAE to make sure that the people, when they will come here, they will be safe. I think it is a busy period for people to go out and also for a lot of people, you know, that we do a lot of packages during the summer to attract a lot of business. And I am also, confident with what's happening in the last couple of weeks, we see the hotels are doing well. Some of the hotels even during the weekend, there is up to 80 per cent occupancy. So that's really is very positive from the local market and now also we are -- we like to see the international businesses really coming back to Dubai and the UAE."
Al Maktoum also spoke to Defterios on how Covid-19 compares to other challenges in his career. "I think what we went through with this Covid-19, it's different than what we've been through over the last 30 or 34 years doing business through a global crisis, but I think the whole world really will come over it. I think we are geared. We have the facilities. We have the manpower. Everything is needed there to set. We've been testing, also, the facility and how we really see that -- the revamp of the business coming back slowly but surely."
When asked what he would say to a passenger who is reluctant to wear a face mask, Al Maktoum said: "I think we have to follow the rules. I think, in the past, if we say that you have to be sitting down when the aircraft is moving or there is a turbulence, you have to fasten your seatbelt, so we have to go. We have to follow the authority, and that's by law. So, you sit there, you wear a mask. You have to protect, also, yourself. We will protect you from the staff side, moving within the aircraft, but also you have to take certain measures when you are in your seats." - TradeArabia News Service