( MENAFN - Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA))
São Paulo – Expo 2020 Dubai, a world's fair to take place in the United Arab Emirates from October 1 this year to March 31, 2022, is driving sales in Brazilian travel agencies. The organizers of the event expect to receive around 25 million visitors, maintaining the pre-pandemic audience forecast. The Arab country was one of the first to reopen its borders and encourage the resumption of tourism and has been aggressively marketing to attract business and leisure tourists during the event, the largest ever held in the UAE. Pictured above, tourists arriving at the Dubai International Airport.
With the return of the daily Emirates Airlines flights between São Paulo and Dubai, Brazilians have been looking for this destination for leisure and business, said Marcos Destro, sales and marketing director at the Líder Corporate Eventos e Lazer travel agency. He stated to ANBA that the emirate has also been a stopover point for other destinations now accepting travelers from Brazil, such as the Maldives and Egypt.
“We are having a huge demand for Dubai, but not yet up to our expectations, because people are waiting to see if the rules are relaxed for other destinations. Generally, they do not want to go just to Dubai, but also to Maldives, Turkey, or other countries in the Middle East, for example,” said Destro.“Despite the moment we are going through on the planet, the demand is quite high. It surprised me a lot. I thought it would be much lower,” he added.
Concerning Expo 2020 , the director said he found the tourist appeal interesting.“They are saying 'come to Dubai and visit the Expo,' so an event previously seen as corporate is having this more tourist appeal. There is even a New Year's Eve package including a visit to the Expo,” he informed.
Expo 2020 Thematic District
According to the president of the corporate and leisure travel agency EGP Viagens , Egyptian Mohamed Darwich, the most significant demand is precisely for New Year and January, which typically are school holidays in Brazil, and coincide with the winter in the emirate, with milder temperatures.
Darwich has sold packages to large groups and is going to the Expo himself. According to the businessman, the UAE have invested for many years to host the event that ended up not happening last year, and this year is the time for them to reap these fruits and minimize the impacts of the pandemic.“It is also a good time for tourists to enjoy Dubai, which is one of the few open destinations,” he said. Currently, he is mainly selling corporate tourism packages for the Expo, but overall, Dubai is a destination being sought after by leisure tourists too, informed the businessman.
The return of major events
Expo 2020 Dubai will be the first on-site worldwide event amid the pandemic, and the emirate is investing in global media to attract tourism back to the country.“They are promoting it all over the world. There has really been a lot of advertisement for the event,” said Destro.“I think Expo will be the test event, the major test, whether we can go back to doing big events on the planet. I think they are courageous, must know what they are doing, they are safe with it, and I think it is good because we need to go back to life in general, leisure and business tourism need to come back, and Expo has everything to be a success and a great event,” said the director.
There are two ways of selling an Expo travel package, according to Destro.“There are two paths, one for corporate tourism and the other for leisure travelers. Either 'go to Dubai for business and renew your contacts, as 2022 will be the year of recovery, and take the opportunity to walk around,' or 'go to Dubai for a walk, and seize the opportunity to visit the Expo,'” he said. Brazilians are waiting for the dollar exchange rates to drop a little. According to Destro, those visiting the Expo for business are not greatly interested in going to the opening, which will be an event aimed more at global authorities than business people.
Despite the mega-event, the UAE are maintaining prices.“They are conservative, keeping prices reasonable not to scare tourists because not everyone will go to the Expo and they do not want to lose these tourists, which is very smart, because by raising prices they lose more than they earn; and because it will be a long event, lasting many months, it would not make sense,” informed Destro. According to him, Dubai is a cost-effective destination, as it offers quality hotels and excellent food and leisure options, with great security.
“Dubai is no longer an artificial destination; it is a destination with many attractions and very worthwhile,” said Darwich. For him, another important point is the currency, the dirham, which has a rate very close to the Brazilian real.“The currency has been within the same rate for thirty years, which helps a lot in the stability of business and tourism,” he declared.
How to travel
To enter Dubai, travelers need to present a negative PCR test collected within 72 hours before boarding. It is not necessary to enter quarantine upon arrival in the country, and visas for Brazilians are obtained upon entry, free of charge, for a stay of 90 days or less.
“But it is always important to make clear all the time the rules are changing; travelers have to be aware the destination could reconsider the entry of Brazilians and disallow boarding,” said Destro regarding destinations such as Portugal, which has reopened for Brazilians recently, but will reassess over the next month.
Translated by Elúsio Brasileiro
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