Towards the end of last year, Dubai became a Mecca for people jetting off on winter sun holidays thanks to its travel corridor with the UK. However, since then the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where Dubai is located, has been placed on the UK’s “red list” for travel.
This means Britons can not visit the sunshine hotspot for leisure purposes, and any UK nationals returning from the country face 10 days in Government-mandated hotel quarantine.
Despite this, Emirates chairman and chief executive Sheikh Ahmed bin Said Al Maktoum remains optimistic the country will soon be off the red list and travel in some capacity will resume.
Speaking to CNBC at the Arabian Travel Market in Dubai on Monday, Al Maktoum said the country’s ongoing vaccination effort and population size should instil confidence in the UK Government to reopen travel.
“I think, first of all, we have to prove to the world that we are in the top three vaccinated (countries),” he said.
“That is nearly 12 million people have been vaccinated so far, and in the UAE you have only nine 9.5 million people who live here.
“So that really should make the UK Government think that we should be off the ‘red list’.”
The Sheikh also explained that the UAE is in constant conversation with the UK Government to figure out a way to reopen travel between the two countries.
“Our officials are taking that very seriously talking to the Government and officials there to make sure we should be very soon off the ‘red list’,” he said.
The Emirates boss also emphasised how seriously Covid precautions are being taken within Dubai and the wider UAE.
He continued: “I think if you look here everybody is really keeping their distance and wearing their mask.
“The government really put in place very strict rules that is why we are living our normal life.”
He also remains positive that there will be demand for flights once the UK Government gives UAE travel the thumbs up.
“I think we see now within Europe things have opened up. In the US they have vaccinated a big number of people,” he said.
“I am sure that everybody looking into the summer and everyone wants to travel.
“Especially the people who have not been travelling over the last year and a half.
“I am sure those people want to go somewhere especially people who want to go back to their homes.
“There are more than 150,000 people living within the UAE, I am sure they want to go back home, their kids want to go back and see friends and family.
“I am sure within the next six months we will see a big moment of travel.”
At the time of writing the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is advising against all “non-essential travel” to the United Arab Emirates.
The Government has given no suggestion as to if or when the UAE will be removed from the ‘red list’, though a review of the “traffic light” lists is due “every three weeks” according to Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps.