By Taiye Olayemi
Lagos – The Dubai Tourism says it has not banned Nigerians from visiting the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Stella Fubara-Obinwa, its Director Africa, International Operations, has said.
Fubara-Obinwa made the clarification during a webinar organised by the National Association of Nigeria Travel Agencies (NANTA) in Lagos. Theme of the meeting was: “Tourism Business Opportunities in Face of New Normal.”
Fubara-Obinwa said there was never a time, nor was there any publication, which reported that Nigerians had been banned from visiting the UAE.
“I challenge people to show me any publication from the United Arab Emirates which states that Nigerians had been banned from the country.
“This is fake news and am not happy with the development from the Nigeria travel agents.
“Nigeria is very important to Dubai; Nigeria has the highest number of travellers to Dubai, out of the 41 sub-Sahara countries.
“As a matter of fact, Dubai is ready to accommodate visitors, likewise every hospitality business, while we adhere to the new COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.
Fubara-Obinwa said Dubai had been opened to tourists from July 7, adding that safety measures had been put in place across all hospitality and tourism outfits.
She noted that Dubai was recently recognised as a safe destination by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
According to her, in Dubai now, a tourist is expected to have a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test at any accredited laboratory in their countries, 96 hours before embarking on a trip to Dubai.
She explained that this would make travellers to ascertain their COVID-19 status prior to their journey to Dubai to guide against spreading the virus.
“The Dubai Department of Tourism and Conference Marketing has given direction that all large events should be suspended until further notice with exception to meetings, examinations and trainings.
“Trainings, meetings and examinations are allowed with strict adherence to social distancing and other stringent protocols.
“Live events are suspended till further notice to curtail the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and assure tourists of their safety.
“We have put measures in place to boost tourists’ confidence coming to the UAE, and we are doing more,” she said.
Fubara-Obinwa noted that the UAE had assured every traveller flying with the Emirate Airlines free medical travel insurance, which would cover COVID-19 treatment in the country.
She said that travellers with other airlines would have to present their medical travel insurance covering COVID-19 treatment before being allowed to travel.
“Also, a declaration must be signed to bear all cost of quarantine and treatment if other airlines are used, in the event that they are infected with COVID-19 in UAE.
“Other travel requirements for the UAE is that travellers must have a negative PCR test result and must disclose any symptom before travelling.
“The Dubai Assured Stamp will be given to tourism and retail establishments that comply with the health and safety protocols for post COVID-19 era; this will be renewed on a bi-weekly basis.
“This is a phenomenal approach to tell you how focussed Dubai is in ensuring that you and your colleagues are safe within the country,” Fubara-Obinwa said.
She said that the global mega event of “Expo Dubai 2020” would now hold from Oct. 1 2021 to March, 31 2022, for six months.
The director said visitation to Dubai for educational pursuit has a lot of benefits for individuals, ranging from scholarships, easy study visa, earn as you learn initiative, post graduate opportunities and more.
“We have focussed on education recently as a channel to attract tourists into the country, and we have partnered with educational consultants to do this.
“Visit to Dubai is not only limited to leisure and business but education and medicals can also be explored,” she said.
Earlier, Mrs Susan Akporiaye, NANTA President, advised Nigeria travel agents to keep themselves abreast of the right information.
“Let us get ourselves empowered with the right information; we need to go extra mile to get the right information and desist from spreading fake news.”