Sheikh Mohammed’s announcement hailed as the best New Year gift by tourists
German expat Doris Wuenscher, 74, who landed in Dubai in September to visit her son and daughter-in-law, was packing her bags to return to her village in Germany when her country announced a hard lockdown beginning December 16-January 10. The number of deaths and infections from the coronavirus pandemic was reaching record levels.
Although a bit disappointed, Doris felt she was lucky to be in the UAE where things are much better and in control when it comes to Covid-19 safety measures.
Her only worry, however, was her visa status. Her 3-month tourist visa had already expired and she was under the grace period. But all her fears were put to rest after the recent announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who on Monday issued directives to extend tourist visas for an additional month, without any government fees, due to temporary airport closures and entry restrictions around the world.
The decision will now allow tourists and their families to spend their New Year holidays in the UAE.
“What a wonderful place this is where so much concern and care is shown towards expatriates,” exclaimed a happy Doris.
This is her first visit to the UAE and she is happy to be able to experience the world’s best New Year celebrations in the country without shelling out anything extra on her visa.
She added: “My son and daughter-in-law recently had their first newborn and I am looking to spend some quality time with the family at home without the worry of running around to get my visa extended. After spending a lovely Christmas here with family where we enjoyed the decorated markets, enjoyed traditional Christmas dinner at home with secret Santa games, I am now looking forward to watching the most talked about fireworks in Dubai and going to enjoy the pleasant weather with the ease of restrictions. I am so happy for this New Year gift from the Dubai Ruler, and I want to thank him for making this year end well for all,” she added.
Rafeeq, a Keralite who is on a visit to Dubai, said the extension has come as a huge relief. “My visit visa expires on January 6. I am happy that I have an extra month to look out for a job,” said Rafeeq.
The beautiful gesture by Sheikh Mohammed has been hailed as the best New Year gift by a number of tourists, many of who had travelled to the UAE to meet their loved ones or simply to enjoy the tourist hot spots here and were unable to return home due to the new variant of coronavirus.