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  • What's more socially distanced than jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet?

  • I'm here now to find out just how Dubai's most famous attractions are getting back to business

  • after the emirate reopened its borders to tourists amid the ongoing global pandemic.

  • After closing its borders for more than three months, Dubai became one of the first destinations

  • to welcome international tourists again on July 7.

  • But will potential visitors be convinced to venture out?

  • Where are you guys from?

  • Turkey!

  • Turkey. Are you visiting Dubai as tourists?

  • No, no.

  • Is this your first time skydiving?

  • Yes.

  • Are you excited?

  • Yes!

  • I'm at Dubai's iconic Skydive Dubai, which has reopened after months closure

  • due to the coronavirus lockdown.

  • Skydive Dubai is ranked one of the best places to jump in the world, and it's a major draw

  • for visitors to the UAE.

  • Before the pandemic, tourism accounted for more than 12% of the UAE's GDP.

  • But over the course of the lockdown, tourism was basically non-existent.

  • In 2016, tourism contributed to more than 600,000 jobs in the country.

  • Among them is professional skydiver Cornelia Mihai, who returned to work after months of lockdown.

  • The lockdown, it kind of proved to us that we are very lucky to be outside, in the air, in free fall,

  • We knew it's necessary, once we're able to get back to what we love,

  • we're very grateful for what we do, and we're just happy to be back in the sky.

  • Summer has always been the low season for Dubai.

  • It's very hot, not many customers, not many visitors so it's very difficult to compare

  • the numbers, but I would say that due to the situation they are lower, but it's picking up.

  • That's good.

  • The UAE was awarded the global "Safe Travel" stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council

  • for following global health and hygiene protocols, and it's clear, operations have adapted

  • to the new normal of Covid-19.

  • Masks are required everywhere and temperature checks are mandatory.

  • Since Dubai reopened to international tourists, we definitely see an increase of customers.

  • We had a big group from China, some tourists from Germany, some were from the U.K.,

  • we had a group from Russia , so, it's good. Tourists are coming back, and that gives

  • us confidence for the future.

  • To see for myself why visitors were braving Dubai's summer heat to come here, I signed up

  • for a skydive of my own.

  • Let's do it, alright?

  • That was beautiful, that was so cool. Man, let do it again.

  • Skydiving may not be for the faint of heart, but it isn't the only activity offering

  • amazing views of the city.

  • And with that I'm off to my next destination, perhaps the most iconic symbol of Dubai,

  • the Burj Khalifa.

  • For years, the UAE has worked to diversify its economy by investing in tourism mega-projects

  • like the world's largest Warner Brothers indoor theme park and a World Expo.

  • That was been delayed because of the pandemic.

  • In the first five months of 2020, worldwide tourism fell by more than half over

  • the same period in 2019, amounting to 300 million fewer tourists and $320 billion

  • in lost international tourism revenue. That's more than three times what the industry lost

  • in the 2009 Global Recession.

  • The world's tallest building is now having to get creative to attract visitors

  • and in the current climate, that means enticing Dubai's residents to become tourists in their own city.

  • And how does the Burj plan to do that?

  • Offer something a little different. Like yoga, 124 stories up.

  • The Burj Khalifa has teamed up with a local fitness app to offer yoga classes

  • with a bird's eye view of the city.

  • And they've become so popular among residents, thanks to photos shared widely on Instagram

  • and Facebook, that they started being offered daily.

  • The Burj Khalifa is a staggering more than 160 stories tall, with the highest viewing deck on the 148th floor.

  • Staff here tell me that they're actually seeing several hundred visitors per day on weekends,

  • mostly Dubai residents taking advantage of the lack of crowds.

  • Despite the tough outlook for 2020, tourism experts in the Middle East expect a faster recovery for the region,

  • with international tourism picking up by the first quarter of 2021.

  • And domestic tourism is expected to resume faster, with venues advertising local discounts

  • and new safety measures to get people back out.

  • And that means making guests feel comfortable, even when out of their comfort zones.

  • In this case, being launched off the top of a building.

  • XLine Dubai Marina is the longest urban zipline in the world, and I'll be flying at

  • 50 miles per hour over the Dubai Marina.

  • For James Pritchard, manager of operations, reopening safely is a top priority.

  • We work very closely with Dubai municipality's health and safety team to make sure that

  • everything is up to scratch, making sure we keep the hygiene standards.

  • Health and safety is always high on our list. We push people off a building daily,

  • so we have to make sure everything's safe.

  • Where are you guys from?

  • France. France!

  • France. Wow.

  • We make sure everything is sanitized, disinfected between all the customers,

  • the bus that brings you up here, we sanitize it after everybody as well.

  • We're seeing some tourists come through now, in the first month it was all Dubai residents

  • which was great to see.

  • I'm a little nervous, not gonna lie!

  • As the travel industry hunkers down for some challenging months ahead, time will tell if

  • Dubai's larger-than-life attractions can bring business back to pre-pandemic levels.

  • That was awesome!

  • So maybe this is the future of tourism, at least for now. Residents trading in overseas flights

  • for local adventures, exploring what's in their very own backyards.

What's more socially distanced than jumping out of an airplane at 13,000 feet?

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B1 INT dubai tourism lockdown reopened khalifa global

Dubai’s iconic tourist attractions reopen amid the pandemic | CNBC Reports

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    Summer   posted on 2020/09/15
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