By Doyinsola Oladipo and Suheir Sheikh
DUBAI (Reuters) – Brazilian tourist Livya Feho used a 24-hour Dubai layover to visit the Expo 2020, in a city that remains one of the few international tourism hubs still open for travellers during a coronavirus-disrupted holiday period.
Feho, travelling from Israel to Brazil, snapped a few selfies at the global fair’s main square, festooned with Christmas trees and other holiday decorations.
With the Omicron variant circulating in the UAE, was she not worried about catching COVID-19?
“Yes, a bit …but I had the booster dose… and I am also using the mask. So I think I will be fine,” she said.
Dubai, the Middle East’s business and tourism hub, cannot afford another lockdown. Its economy, whose foundations have creaked under coronavirus restrictions, relies heavily on the travel industry.
It received 5.5 million visitors in 2020, despite global lockdowns, and this year had welcomed 4.88 million by the end of October, official data shows.
UAE infection numbers are rising again. There were 665 new cases on Wednesday, but tourists are still enjoying its glitzy hotels and night life.
Gabriela Pourova, a tourist from the Czech Republic, said she needed only a PCR test to land in Dubai.
“No matter how the risk right now is… I can just take my precautions and still enjoy Dubai,” added Yvette Dbedevi, a tourist from Togo.
(Editing by Aziz El Yaakoubi; editing by John Stonestreet)