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UAE visa extension: Travel agents hail ‘win-win’ move

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The initiative was announced in light of temporary airport closures and entry restrictions around the world

Travel agents in Dubai are hailing the latest directive by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to extend tourist visas for an additional month, without government fees.

The move was announced in light of temporary airport closures and entry restrictions around the world.

It also encourages tourists and their families currently in the UAE to spend the New Year holidays in the emirate.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, a few travel agents noted how this is a win-win situation for all.

Reena Philips, General Manager – Operations of Airtravel Enterprises & Tourism, said, “We have been getting continuous calls from people, as many are still in disbelief that this news is true. It is a ‘bonus’ for all tourists who are in the emirate around this time. The Dubai government had earlier announced visa extensions in the middle of the pandemic. The leaders of the emirate are thoughtful and empathetic.”

She added, “As people can stay longer without spending anything extra on visa renewal, there is an increased demand from tourists for staycation packages, glamping and desert safari deals. Of course, people are also looking to make the most of the shopping festival here. So, indirectly, they will spend here, which will also help give a boost to the economy.”

Another travel agent opined that the move injects some much-needed confidence among tourists, who consider Dubai to be a safe haven for travel, even during the pandemic.

Hemali Shah, Managing Director, City One Tourism & Travel said, “It gives freedom to tourists and instils a very positive mindset among travellers. The Covid-19 situation is much better controlled in the UAE, as compared to many nations across the world. People are tired of restrictions and lockdowns elsewhere and want to enjoy the New Year’s Eve. What better place than Dubai to celebrate the same in a safe way?”

She added, “The hotels are full and a lot of good deals are on offer. Dubai meets all tourists’ requirements despite an unprecedented year. We are being inundated with calls from curious tourists who want more information on the same.”