which includes Dubai and Abu Dhabi – is set to see its Covid risk downgraded alongside Qatar and Bahrain and moved to the UK’s amber list from 4am on Sunday (8 August) under the latest update to the traffic light system.
Bevan described the decision as “fantastic” not only for British holidaymakers but also for the “substantial” expat community in the region “desperate to see their loved ones back home”.
“Dubai is one of the most popular destinations for all our brands,” he said. “This [decision] gives us the opportunity to do what we’ve been denied for too long, which is to sell holidays – not just to the UAE itself, but also those onward destinations which can be connected to through Dubai, and which are also amber or green, and welcoming British travellers.
An Emirates spokesperson also welcomed the change, saying it reflected “the extensive steps” taken to mitigate the spread of Covid in both the UK and UAE – stressing how more than 70% of the country’s population had been fully vaccinated.
“Given the low numbers of coronavirus cases in the UAE, the extensive testing at Dubai International Airport, and the careful health and safety measures in place across the passenger journey, we hope to see the UAE moving to the green list soon,” said the spokesperson.
“It’s been a long time coming, but we finally have some good news and we’ll now prepare for what we anticipate will be substantial growth in demand for late-notice departures from next week for those who meet the requirements to travel,” added Bevan.
His support was echoed by Business Travel Association chief executive Clive Wratten, who said the amber change was “of particular significance” for the business travel sector.
“It will take some time for business travel to return at scale, but this enables our sector to contribute to UK GDP and the international trading reputation of our country once more,” said Wratten.
Virginia Messina, senior vice-president and acting chief executive of the World Travel & Tourism Council, also voiced her joy – saying the traffic light shift would “provide a massive boost” to the travel industry over the coming months.