There is optimism about the opportunity for increased travel to the Middle East thanks to the recent Abraham agreements, which laid the foundations for the normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE.
Not least because of the incredible record-breaking speed with which the two countries are vaccinating people….
During a virtual presentation – according to inparkmagazine.com – with travel agents and journalists on March 3, 2021, Chad Martin (director of NE region for Visit Israel) and Soraya Alolama (head of North America for Visit Dubai) spoke to the appeal of visiting both Israel and Dubai in one trip for North American visitors, though the agreement is likely to have profound tourism effects throughout the region.
Here are some highlights:
On Tourism Stats
20% of Israel’s tourists come from North America, with a total of 1.2 million American visitors in 2019 (up from 650,000 in 2016). By comparison, Dubai sees about 7% of its tourism from North America, with 817,000 visiting in 2018. The two anticipate the ease of travel between the two countries will help entice even more visitors to add both countries to their travel plans in coming years.
On Ease of Travel
In addition to enjoying nonstop flights between the connecting countries, visitors no longer need to worry about having a stamp from Israel in their passport. “No major destination will turn you away with an Israeli passport stamp,” says Visit Israel’s Martin. Visitors can still opt out of receiving the stamp.
On Tourism Models
The two countries consider their tourism industries to be complementary, with Dubai leading the way in the MENA region in building theme parks, waterparks and attractions while Israel provides cultural and historic destinations that appeal to a wide range of visitors.
Israel and the UAE top the list of countries administering the most COVID vaccinations per capita. Both have aggressive policies mandating mask wearing and limiting occupancy in gathering locations. Visitors to Dubai can receive an $800 fine if caught not wearing a mask in public by one of the UAE’s undercover COVID inspectors.
On Expo 2020
The Abraham Accords also stands to benefit organizers of Dubai Expo 2020 (October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022). In addition to appealing to North American and European travelers intent on visiting Israel, the Expo is likely to see a boost from Israeli nationals themselves.