G.Open to tourists from July 2020, the city-emirate attracts visitors with its restaurants and beaches, but even its boats, while social distance is in practice. Nada has been out at sea four times since the health crisis began. “It’s so close, you’re only with your family and friends.”, Says this 36-year-old Saudi woman who lives in Dubai. “We think we can breathe. It’s like you traveled.”, Says Nada, who has not left Dubai since February 2020.
With the horizon of endless skyscrapers and artificial islands, Boats are allowed to operate at 70% of their capacity. Rental companies were more interested in this activity. “When control measures were relaxed and the situation returned to normal, people wanted something safer and more orderly, staying with family and friends.”, Mohammed Al Saeed, director of the charter company Royal Star Yokes, explains. Residents and tourists alike dream “Passenger Ships”, From “Relax”, Professional commitment.
Named for its majestic towers and luxury display, Dubai has a very diverse economy in the Gulf, which is heavily dependent on oil. The financial, business and airport hub has also developed its tourism sector, with about 16 million visitors a year before the epidemic. As the country accelerates its vaccination campaign, visitor visits since the beginning of this year have allowed many business activities to return to the pre-health crisis.
“Getting on a boat is like being on the terrace when you are away from the world, only with those you believe in.”
« I have seen an increase in the demand for boat rentals since March 2021 as some restrictions are still in place on hotels and private beaches Says another manager of a boat charter company. “At that time we were allowed to run at 50% of our capacity, and the clients were very happy to have fun with friends and listen to music.”, He says.
At the same time, other services such as food distribution in the middle of the ocean are on the rise. “Getting on a boat is like being on the terrace when you are away from the world, only with those you believe in.”Says Jilan Herz, a Palestinian who has lived in the United Arab Emirates for more than thirty years.
But control measures such as wearing a mask or minimum reception capacity apply in principle. Authorities have arrested and fined some groups for violating the rules. Dubai has been a popular destination for sports stars such as footballers Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba or mixed martial arts star Conor McGregor. The emirate has also attracted a crowd of influencers.
Photos of celebrities on the sidelines or at cocktail bars have flooded the social media in recent months as many wealthy tourists escaping from locks around the world have taken up temporary residence in Dubai.