Thermometers in hand, Dubai opens for tourists amid pandemic hoping to coax visitors back to its beaches and cavernous shopping malls



Slide 1 of 11: From French soccer jerseys to slick online campaigns, Dubai is trumpeting the fact that it has reopened for tourism today. But what that means for this sheikhdom that relies on the dollars, pounds, rupees and yuan spent by travellers remains in question. With travel uncertain and the coronavirus still striking nations Dubai relies on for tourists, this city-state wants to begin coaxing people back to its beaches and its cavernous shopping malls. By instilling the idea that Dubai is safe, authorities likely hope to fuel interest in the sheikhdom ahead of its crucial tourist-heavy winter months.
Slide 2 of 11: But all that depends on controlling a virus that the United Arab Emirates as a whole continues to fight. Armed with thermometers, mandatory face masks and hand sanitizer, Dubai is wagering it is ready. Pictured: Front desk staff wearing masks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic help customers at the Rove City Centre Hotel in Dubai, which reopened to tourists today.
Slide 3 of 11: 'I think that will give people confidence - when they´re ready to travel - to come to Dubai,' said Paul Bridger, the corporate director for operations at Dubai-based Rove Hotels. 'It will take time to come back... We are expecting to be one of the first markets to be back because of the confidence that we can give to people that are travelling.' Pictured: A front desk employee at the Rove City Centre Hotel wears a mask as he works on his computer.
Slide 4 of 11: That Dubai is a tourist destination at all is largely thanks to its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who used the state-owned long-haul carrier Emirates to put this one-time pearling post on the map. Pictured: A mask-wearing employee with a thermometer waits to check guests' temperatures at the Rove City Centre Hotel, Dubai.

Slide 5 of 11: Attractions like the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building, and the sail-shaped Burj Al-Arab luxury hotel draw transit passengers out of Dubai International Airport, the world's busiest for international travel. Pictured is an employee making coffee at the Rove City Centre Hotel.
Slide 6 of 11: In 2019 alone, Dubai welcomed 16.7million international guests, up from 15.9million the year before, according to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing. Tourists to Dubai fuel its vast restaurant, bar and nightlife scene. Pictured is a hotel staff member at the Rove City Centre Hotel serving coffee to guests
Slide 7 of 11: The top seven tourist-sending nations were India, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Oman, China, Russia and the U.S. The city's 741 hotels saw around 75 percent occupancy for the year, with visitors staying on average three-and-a-half days. Pictured: An employee wearing a mask fogs disinfectant in a hotel room at the Rove City Centre Hotel.
Slide 8 of 11: But even before the pandemic, lower global energy prices, a 30 percent drop in the city's real estate market value and trade war fears have led employers to shed staff. The virus outbreak accelerated those losses, especially as Dubai has postponed its Expo 2020, or world's fair, to next year over the pandemic.
Slide 9 of 11: That makes reopening for tourism that much more important, even though Dubai's top three tourist-feeding countries remain hard-hit by the virus, said Rabia Yasmeen, a consultant at the market-research firm Euromonitor International. Pictured: A man stands in an elevator decorated with a graphic showing the video game character Pac-Man eating the coronavirus at the Rove City Centre Hotel.

Slide 10 of 11: An Emirati wearing a face mask walks past a camel statue decorated with a face mask at the Rove City Centre Hotel.
Slide 11 of 11: Traffic speeds down the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai. Dubai is a tourist destination largely thanks to its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who used the state-owned long-haul carrier Emirates to put Dubai on the map.
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