Coronavirus: Dubai hotels ready to welcome foreign visitors as emirate reopens

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In Dubai’s Atlantis resort, located at the tip of the emirate’s iconic Palm Jumeirah Island, workers wearing face masks clean cushions, sofas, and king-size beds in luxury suites that have largely been vacant since the coronavirus pandemic.

The resort and seven other hotels in the regional tourism hub contacted by Reuters are seeing business pick up as Dubai reopened to foreign visitors on Tuesday July 7, but do not expect a significant increase before the fourth quarter of 2020.

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“Bookings have started to increase,” Tim Kelly, managing director at Atlantis Dubai, said, adding he expected a “solid” fourth quarter for the resort, known for its giant aquarium and water slides.

The resort closed in March as the United Arab Emirates imposed a coronavirus lockdown and reopened in mid-May when restrictions started easing gradually. Curfews were fully lifted late last month, allowing commercial businesses and public venues to reopen.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

The coronavirus outbreak delivered a blow to Dubai, one of the most visited cities globally, where tourism accounts for more than 11 percent of the GDP. Dozens of hotels closed while occupancy rates fell to less than 10 percent in others.

The UAE, of which Dubai is a part, has not yet announced the reopening of its borders to foreign visitors on a federal level. The Gulf state halted commercial passenger flights in March, but last month resumed regular outbound flights for citizens and residents.

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