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Discover the pleasure of domestic travel

Domestic travel is more likely to be possible. Several countries are investing in campaigns inviting locals to explore their own neighbourhoods rather than travelling to other parts of the country.

It’s still hard to say what kind of travel will be possible this summer, and that will depend on the development of the virus and restrictions in place both in UAE and overseas.

The thing is, if we’re going nowhere, then nobody’s coming here for a while either. Even if we are going to ease back into a new normal, the border isn’t going to open any time soon.

The tourism business is going into freefall right now, so we need to find ways to help us discover and rediscover where we live. We need to discover and embrace the pleasures closer to home.

For this reason right now in Dubai there are some incredible staycation deals on offer if people are looking for a change of scenery from their apartment this summer. Luxury staycations are very popular in the UAE as restless residents look for a change of scene with plans for holidays abroad frozen by the coronavirus pandemic.

Restrictions on global air travel enforced to combat the spread on Covid-19 have hit the hospitality trade hard as the country misses out on an influx of tourism.

But an executive in the sector, Mr Vinayak Mahtani, said there has been a boom in the numbers of people opting for staycations, especially at high-end properties that offer private pools and Jacuzzis. It’s a new business model that has emerged in recent weeks during the frustration of lockdown.

It was even suggested that demand was so high that Dubai’s staycation market could prove more profitable than last year’s.

Now hotels across the country are trying to make up for lost time by reopening with staycation offers they hope will entice guests back through their doors. Residents in Dubai are now allowed to move freely between the hours of 6am and 10pm without a permit after the emirate relaxed safety measures.

People have started to take advantage of the lockdown by renting luxury properties with private swimming pools even if the government has sorted people to stay at home as they battle to control the spread of Covid-19. Many of the people who had booked properties, through Mr Mahtani’s company, shared frustration at being confined to their apartments during the coronavirus restrictions.

It will be July at the earliest before anyone can even think about going for a holiday outside the UAE, said Mr Vinayak Mahtani, chief executive of holiday home rental business BNB ME. He said the number of people taking staycations would only increase as restrictions on movement were relaxed.

It’s important having domestic travel for another important reason. This summer there are currently no legally enforced restrictions on travel between world’s countries, but it would be recommended  not doing non-essential travel within the country. 

Another important factor is that different regions are currently at different points in the infection curve. Authorities want to keep it that way for as long as possible for several reasons, including because this allows for resources and staff to be better streamlined if regions reach their peak at different times, and increased domestic travel could accelerate the spread of infection.

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Alessandra Quarta Conte

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