‘My first international travel after months of being locked down was like a breath of fresh air, and it was as safely conducted by all stakeholders involved as was humanly possible,’ says Mehernosh Colombowalla, Director of Mumbai-based Beyond Borders Travel Management Company.
The world is slowly opening up in stages, with Dubai being the first to welcome tourists from India. Understandably, there is still some fear psychosis among travellers, of not being ‘100% sure’ on the safety measures. So to build confidence among clients, some of my fellow travel agents and I decided to undertake a trip ourselves. The objective was not just to showcase to our clients and the world how well-prepared aviation, hospitality and the tourism sectors are, but also to experience it personally, for us to be able to convince our clients of the same.
We followed the new norms and had a very safe flight. Dubai airport is extremely organised and is offering free COVID tests on arrival. We sailed through that and were out within 30 minutes of arrival! Within 24 hours we received a message about our results on our phones. It was ‘Not Detected’ – which is the case almost always as you’ve done your COVID test just before departure from India as well. The hotel check-in was swift, the rooms were well-sanitised, and the hotel welcome was heart-warming. A special thank you to The Oberoi Hotel, The Mandarin Oriental, The Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach, The JA Oasis Residence and The Palazzo Versace for their warm hospitality extended to us.
Activity as usual
Shopping in malls is as usual, the eateries are buzzing (the food menu can be scanned on your mobile), and the attractions are well-managed. We even did a seaplane adventure thanks to Sea Wings Dubai. We enjoyed great food and drinks at night lounges which again had excellent safety arrangements. We felt completely at ease and very safe throughout the journey.
On return, the hotels arrange for the RT-PCR test to be done in the convenience of your room. Results come within 24 hours and you carry it with you on your way back to India. Our clients who follow us on our social media platforms are convinced of the safety measures, and we already have three confirmed bookings to Dubai for this month and multiple queries from clients! A personal experience is the best influencer when it comes to travel. Honestly, the only difference between pre-COVID times and now was those fabulous designer masks that people wore! Dubai has the spirit – they’ve made the mask into a fashion accessory and they wear it with style to match their outfits. They don’t consider it a piece of cloth plastered on your face with fear written all over your eyes.